Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/1385 Mon, 23 Oct 2017 15:15:25 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 28 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5909:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-28 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5909:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-28 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

In its post-Pope Francis world, will New York politics take heed of the pontiff's words and be a place of more cooperation, compassion, and grace?

The best place to look, of course, will be the relationship between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo. The two powerful New York Democrats embraced and chatted face-to-face while awaiting Pope Francis on Thursday of last week. Perhaps being in the pope's presence will move the two to put aside old differences and work together for the good of the people of New York. Case in point: MTA funding, where, quite seriously, lives are at stake as subways run overcrowded and needed repairs go untended to.

Speaking of the governor, Cuomo gave a stirring euology at the Saturday funeral of his former aide, Carey Gabay, who was killed by gunfire in Brooklyn. Cuomo included a call for federal gun regulations in his speech and said that Democrats must approach the issue like those on the right approach their agenda.

Cuomo's public schedule lists no events for Monday as of Sunday evening. Mayor de Blasio was in Connecticut Saturday to Sunday, presumably visiting his son Dante, who is a freshman at Yale. After a week in which de Blasio was very focused on Pope Francis' visit and tying his own agenda to the pope's messages on inequality, de Blasio starts his week making another announcement regarding his battle against homelessness. The mayor will hold a 2:30 p.m. press conference to make an announcement about "homelessness prevention," according to his public schedule. On Friday, the mayor is expected to speak at an event in Washington, D.C. - see below for details.

It is a slow week at the City Council this week in terms of committee hearings, though there is a full-body Stated Meeting on Thursday afternoon, at which new bills will be introduced and some previously-heard bills passed through and sent to the mayor's desk. [Read our report on a new bill, the Grocery Worker Retention Act, which is controversial and just had its first committee hearing]

And, President Obama starts the week in New York City, along with many other world leaders - Obama spoke at the United Nations on Sunday; on Monday he will again speak to representatives of many other countries and hold private meetings.

As always, there's a great deal happening all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At 9 a.m. Monday on the steps of City Hall, there will be a press conference in support of Planned Parenthood funding, featuring several elected officials and advocates such as "Assemblyman Keith Wright, Congressman Charles Rangel, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Zenaida Mendez, Now-NYS, Sharon Nelson, President of National Political Women's Caucus, NYC Chapter," and "Stakeholders and Concerned Citizens" - according to AM Wright's office.

Monday at 11 a.m., members of the New York City Council and other elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, will issue a public proclamation on the steps of City Hall, honoring Ethel Rosenberg on what would have been her 100th birthday.

Also at 11 a.m. Monday, schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña hosts a roundtable for "ethnic and community media" at Tweed.

At 11:30 a.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, former Environmental Committee Chair Donovan Richards, and other Council members will gather at Green City Force in Brooklyn for a press conference to announce a "new funding initiative for Greener NYC."

On Monday in the State Legislature:

  • At 11 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a public hearing to "examine what steps can be taken to preserve Plum Island as an open space in light of the pending sale."
  • At 6 p.m. the Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will hold a public hearing regarding "The future of sheltered workshops in New York State for families and individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities."

Monday at noon, Comptroller Scott Stringer will appear on BK Live, via BRIC TV.

Also at noon at Brooklyn Borough Hall, BP Eric Adams "will practice yoga with students from PS 196 Ten Eyck in East Williamsburg as part of his second annual celebration of National Yoga Month, a daylong gathering in Brooklyn Borough Hall featuring classes and demonstrations of yoga and related holistic living disciplines, such as meditation and tai chi. Prior to the yoga demonstration, Borough President Adams will join local practitioners to speak about the importance of inner wellness to the health of Brooklynites."

Monday afternoon in the Bronx: "South Bronx Rising Together, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and dozens of school and community stakeholders" will mark Attendance Awareness Month and commit to ending chronic student absence in the heart of the South Bronx.

At 5:30 p.m. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Members Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Carlos Menchaca, the New York City Council Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus, and the New York City Council will host a New York City Celebration of 194 years of Mexican Independence.

At 7 p.m. Citizen Preparedness Corps Training Program, which trains citizens to be ready to react in case of natural disasters, will be held in Queens, sponsored by the governor's office, Congressional Rep. Grace Meng; Borough President Melinda Katz; State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky; Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and City Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

On Monday evening, it's Community Voices Heard's 20th Annual Honorable Shirley Chisholm Lights of Freedom Awards Celebration. Public Advocate James and other elected officials are expected.

Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (District 21, Queens), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens), 6:30p.m.

Tuesday
Tuesday Mayor de Blasio and Fred Wilson, Founder and Chairman of CSNYC, will appear live on CNBC's Squawk Box at 6:50 a.m. to discuss Computer Science for All. After, at about 10 a.m., the mayor will testify at Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's public hearing on civil legal services.

Tuesday starting at 8 a.m., City & State NY is hosting "Housing Health Equity," presented by NYC Smoke Free at New York Law School. The forum will "discuss strategies to address NYC's tobacco-related health disparities as well as efforts to house health equity with smoke-free housing." Keynote remarks will be made by Assemblymember Felix Ortiz; the event will feature an interview with city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett and a panel discussion including City Council Member Donovan Richards.

At 8:15 a.m. the Manhattan Institute will host the fifth annual Proxy Monitor event, which will feature an interview of city Comptroller Scott Stringer, followed by a panel discussion.

At 8:30 a.m. "join the Municipal Art Society of New York and the NYC Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency for a comprehensive discussion about ongoing and upcoming efforts to build resilience in New York City!" The event will feature conversation about the City's Phase 2 application for the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The event will include several speakers, such as Amy Chester of Rebuild by Design; Kate Dineen of the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery; Rob Freudenberg from the Regional Plan Association; Lisa Bova Hiatt from the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery; Mary Rowe of Municipal Art Society; and Daniel A. Zarrilli of the NYC Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Speaker Mark-Viverito will be at the Apollo Theater for Glamour Magazine's "A Global Conversation on the Power of Educating Adolescent Girls" on a panel with First Lady Michelle Obama, former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and actress Charlize Theron.

At noon at Foley Square, Mark-Viverito will participate in "Planned Parenthood's Pink Out Day Rally to support reproductive health access for all New Yorkers." Many other elected officials and advocates are expected.

At noon as well, at City Hall, "City Council Members Vanessa L. Gibson and Corey Johnson will join community groups, education activists, and fellow Council Members to call for passage of vital amendments to the Student Safety Act. The updated Act will strengthen transparency and data collection on school discipline issues, including incidents between students and police. A vote on the Act is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 30th. These much needed amendments will increase transparency and strengthen data collection to help the City further advance an approach to school discipline that is grounded in creating safe and supportive schools, while respecting the dignity of all students, and keeping students in school."

Also Tuesday at noon at the Manhattan Borough President's office, a press conference at which "Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel will unveil a new report with recommendations for improving police-community relations in New York City...The report's findings are based on feedback gathered from over a thousand New Yorkers at a series of town halls and digital dialogues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The announcement, which will highlight key proposals outlined in the report, comes following a number of recent headlines addressing public safety and proper policing practices citywide."

At 6 p.m. Tuesday: WE ACT's 2015 gala will honor Luis Acosta, Founder and President of El Puente; Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network; James S. Hoyte, Counsel of ADS Ventures; Sarah Martin, WE ACT and a NYC recycling activist; Denise Scott, Executive VP for Programs at LISC; and Edison Severino, Business Manager of LIUNA Local 78; for their achievements in engaging a larger demographic with environmental problems on the rise in New York and the world.

Also at 6 p.m. Tuesday, the city's Panel for Educational Policy will meet on Staten Island.

Also at 6 p.m. Tuesday, City Council Member Laurie Cumbo is hosting a community presentation from the Department of City Planning on two rezoning proposals: "Zoning for Quality and Affordability" and "Mandatory Inclusionary Housing."

At 7 p.m. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will hold a small business roundtable discussion, where East Village small business owners can speak about challenges they face, informing elected officials, city, state & federal agencies, and small business stakeholders.

Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx), 7 p.m.
  • CM Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (District 21, Queens), 7p.m.
  • CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan), 6 p.m.
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens), 6p.m.

Wednesday
Wednesday morning, Crain’s New York Business will hold a forum with Republican Senator Majority Leader John Flanagan. Flanagan will discuss the Senate majority’s top priorities and the de Blasio administration’s Albany agenda.

At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Manhattan Institute hosts “Data and Education: Can new tools empower parents and improve schools?” The event will begin with a panel and Q&A moderated by Naomi Nix, Senior Reporter, The Seventy Four. SchoolGrades.org will give a presentation at the end of the conference.

On Wednesday, Families for Excellent Schools is planning a morning rally at Cadman Plaza, march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall “to demand equal opportunity in our schools.” The pro-charter school organization is expected to demand "bold" action from Mayor de Blasio.

At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • 10 a.m. Committee on Finance will meet to discuss several changes that would allow certain organizations to receive funding in the Expense Budget.
  • 1:30 p.m. The City Council Stated Meeting, as always, prefaced by the pre-stated press conference led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito at 12:30.

At 12 p.m. The Center for NYC Neighborhoods will hold a discussion regarding “The Future of Affordable Homeownership in NYC” at New York Law School, with “specialists in the fields of housing, finance, academia, government, and more to talk about what challenges New York City homeowners are facing and hear about new and innovative ways we can help keep working families in New York.”

At 6 p.m., VOCAL New York and the recently launched SIF NYC campaign will hold a town hall on rising homelessness and the problem of drug abuse, proposing an alternative to Public Injection, and supporting Supervised Injection Facilities.

At 7 p.m. Take Back NYC will host a small business forum, advocating for legislation that would stop unreasonable rent increases and unfair leases to small businesses by landlords. City Council Member Annabel Palma will deliver opening remarks.

Also at 7 p.m., BetaNYC will hold a “Civic Hack Night” at Civic Hall - a weekly initiative that allows technologists, designers, developers, data scientists, map makers, and activists to gather and to work on “civic technologies” to improve the city together.

On Wednesday evening, Comptroller Stringer hosts a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Costa Constantinides (District 22, Queens), 7 p.m.
  • CM Robert Cornegy (District 36, Brooklyn), 7 p.m.
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens), 6:30 p.m.,
  • CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx), 4p.m.
  • CM I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens), 6:30p.m.
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan), 6 p.m.

Thursday
On Thursday, starting at 9 a.m., the fifth annual "New York State Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Forum: The State of Business Opportunities" will commence in Albany, as announced by Governor Cuomo. Offering participation in Workshops, Seminars, Exhibitions and opportunities to meet New York's top public and private sector leaders and procurement decision makers, the event will last until Friday 3 p.m.

At 10:30 a.m. Thursday Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a public land use hearing.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Museum of the City of New York: Kendall Fells, Organizing Director of Fight for $15, will join Sarah Maslin Nir, New York Times reporter; Jessamyn Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen; Dorian Warren, political analyst and MSNBC host for a discussion titled "The New New York Activists: Living City, Living Wage." Georgia Levenson Keohane, Senior Fellow at New America, will moderate.

Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting events:

  • CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan), 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens), 7 p.m.
  • CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan), 6 p.m.
  • CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan), 6 p.m.
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens), 6 p.m.
  • CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn), 6:30p.m.

Friday and the weekend
The governor's "Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Forum" continues in Albany on Friday.

"On Friday, October 2, 2015 American Family Voices will bring together representatives of the business community and leaders in the national progressive movement. Sessions of the conference will explore shared policy priorities and how we may work together to collaborate on a legislative agenda, support businesses with progressive values, and build state level infrastructure. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will address the conference during the morning session."

On Saturday at 10 a.m. as part of the New Yorker Festival, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Shawn Armbrust, executive director of Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project; Patrick Quinn, the Forty First Governor of Illinois; and Tyrone Hood, a citizen who spent twenty one years in prison for a wrongful conviction, will speak on a panel: "Justice Delayed: Guilty Until Proven Innocent." Nicholas Schmidle, New Yorker staff writer, will moderate the discussion.

And a participatory budgeting event on Saturday is being held by CM Antonio Reynoso, at 1 p.m. 

***
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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

]]>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 28 Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:00:00 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, September 21-25 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5906:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-september-21-25 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5906:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-september-21-25 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday September 25

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio greets Pope Francis, via @BilldeBlasio; Pope Francis at the 9/11 memorial, via Ben Fractenberg.

bdb pope

pope 911 memorial

TOP STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. Pope Francis Visits NYC: Pope Francis was greeted by New York's top elected officials when he arrived at St. Patrick's Cathedral for evening prayers Thursday, his first public appearance in New York after addressing Congress in Washington, D.C. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo both greeted Francis and each has expressed admiration for the pope's messages of justice and compassion.

In New York, Francis also addressed the UN General Assembly and spoke at an interfaith ceremony at the 9/11 memorial on Friday morning. Friday afternoon, the pontiff is set to visit a school in East Harlem, proceed through Central Park, and give mass at Madison Square Garden. Mayor de Blasio sees the pope's message as similar to his and cites the pope in support of his mission to combat inequality, calling Francis the "leading moral voice on this earth.”

2. Bratton Responds to Comptroller, City Council: NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton hit back at Comptroller Scott Stringer this week for comments he made about the city's use of crime statistics. At a press conference on Monday in Brooklyn near the site of several weekend murders, Stringer said the city's crime statistics were "politicized" and called for a "real" discussion on how to curb violence in New York City. Bratton defended the police force and stated once again that overall major crime has decreased. Bratton also stated again this week that he sees the City Council as overreaching in its attempts to legislate NYPD-related policy. This time, Bratton was spurred to speak out against the Council about a new bill to implement warnings when a police officer may be a frequent user of excessive force.

3. Legal Moves in the Bronx: Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson has secured a nomination for an open state Supreme Court judgeship. Johnson waited until just after he won the primary for his DA position with no one running against him to announce that he wanted to seek a judgeship. Now, Democratic party leaders are handpicking his replacement on the November ballot. Bronx Democratic leaders are being criticized for a variety of machinations involved that make it appear they are subverting the democratic process and largely leaving voters out of the equation. They have defended themselves, in part, by saying that there is nothing illegal they are doing. Several Bronx leaders have remained silent on the moves.

4. First Homeless Shelter/Affordable Housing Development: The new $62 million "Landing Road Residence" project in the Bronx marks the first time the city has attempted to tackle two major issues - homelessness and affordable housing - under one roof. The project will feature 135 units of housing alongside a 200-bed shelter for homeless working adults.

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:

  • 150 beds will be provided for homeless people through a partnership between the Roman Catholic Church and New York City, Mayor de Blasio and Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced this week.
  • #83479-053 is former Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm’s prisoner number as he entered a medium-security federal prison in Lewis Run, PA, for his eight-month sentence.
  • 2 million packets of K2 were seized by the NYPD after a raid in the Bronx.
  • About 80,000 people were set to gather in Central Park on Friday to see Pope Francis after securing tickets in a city-sponsored lottery.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

  • It was a good week for Mayor Bill de Blasio as he met with Pope Francis during his first visit to New York City. In Pope Francis, the mayor has found a powerful validator of his fight against inequality, aligning his own efforts to fight inequality with Francis' messages of economic, environmental, and social justice.
  • It was a bad week for Bronx Democrats, as Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson is stepping down to become a state Supreme Court justice, enabling Democratic Party leaders to bypass voters and handpick his replacement.

THE FLASH:

  • Around this time 239 years ago, on September 21, 1776, Trinity Church on Wall Street was destroyed when a fire swept through colonial Manhattan, leaving a quarter of the city in ruins. The British suspected arson, but the cause of the fire was never determined.
  • Around this time 226 years ago, on September 25, 1789, the first U.S. Congress met in New York and adopted twelve amendments to the Constitution. Ten of them went on to become the Bill of Rights.
  • Around this time last year, on September 23, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the United Nations, speaking briefly about climate change and efforts to combat it.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

In Pope Francis, De Blasio Finds Ultimate Validator, by Ben Max

Combatting New York's Enduring Quality-Of-Life Problem: Litter, by Cole Rosengren

Newest Prison Sentences Remind Of Limited Movement On Even Agreed Upon Reforms, by David King

Inmate Bill Of Rights Among New Wave Of Rikers Reforms, by Meg O’Connor

And, Gotham Gazette's David King appeared on WAMC's The Capitol Connection radio program to discuss the latest moves by Governor Andrew Cuomo, listen here.

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

  • The Wall Street Journal looks at Emma Wolfe, a key aide to Mayor de Blasio, and her role in brokering the relationship between de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, among others
  • The Observer profiles Mark Peters, the commissioner of the city's Department of Investigation
  • DNAinfo with a fun look at the many gifts that get sent to Mayor de Blasio

***
NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

***
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

]]>
The Week That Was in New York Politics, September 21-25 Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:09:17 +0000
In Pope Francis, De Blasio Finds Ultimate Validator http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5903:in-pope-francis-de-blasio-finds-ultimate-validator http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5903:in-pope-francis-de-blasio-finds-ultimate-validator de blasio dolan sept 23

Cardinal Dolan & Mayor de Blasio (photo via @BilldeBlasio)


Pope Francis is the "leading moral voice on this earth," according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is welcoming the pope to New York City with open arms.

At a press conference Wednesday, the day before the pope is due to arrive in New York, de Blasio again spoke highly of Francis and pointed to the pope's moral authority and inspiration when announcing a partnership with the Archdiocese of New York to provide additional beds to homeless New Yorkers.

"Pope Francis is calling us all to action...asking all of us to do more to help those in need," de Blasio said Wednesday as he, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and others outlined new steps to help homeless individuals through city partnerships with faith-based organizations.

As de Blasio and other New Yorkers anticipate Pope Francis' Thursday arrival, the mayor is able to frame his efforts to fight inequities and help struggling and vulnerable New Yorkers in terms of the pope's worldview.

Citing Francis' messages on economic, environmental, and social justice, de Blasio continues to point to the pope as the moral standard-bearer, repeatedly praising Francis for his bold vision for a better world. This has included, for example, the mayor quoting Francis' critique of trickle-down economics.

Though the mayor is a municipal executive, he has sought to take his own message national and global. In Pope Francis, de Blasio may have found the most powerful validator of his fight against inequality.

"We have to do everything we can do to create a more just society," de Blasio said Wednesday, referring to the pope and his mandates. "We are amplifying the pope's agenda. We are answering his call to action," the mayor said, explaining that it is imperative the city takes care of all New Yorkers in need in order to truly be "the greatest city in the world."

Upon arriving in the United States, Pope Francis spoke at the White House Wednesday morning. He called for participation in his mission, saying, "I would like all men and women of good will in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children."

For de Blasio, there is undoubtedly great appreciation of Pope Francis' pointed critiques of the social and environmental impacts of a changing world. But, de Blasio is also able to utilize Francis in support of his agenda, which comes as welcome help to a mayor who has had his share of detractors.

Still, promoting the pope and some of his messages also creates conflict for the mayor, who has described himself as a person of faith, though not particularly religious. De Blasio must face criticism from those who say that he is blurring lines of church and state and figure out a way to explain why Francis is so right on certain issues like climate change and immigration, but not a moral authority on others, like same-sex marriage or abortion rights.

De Blasio has made his adulatory relationship with Francis one of convenience, as is often the case with political allies, and mostly sidestepped those criticisms and conflicts.

When asked about specific areas where the mayor disagrees with the pope and criticism of the city promoting the leader of the Catholic Church, de Blasio spokesperson Monica Klein wrote Gotham Gazette to say that Pope Francis is "a leading global voice on ending income inequality and fighting climate change—issues that are important to people across all faiths in our city." In one public area of criticism, de Blasio did say this summer that the Catholic Church must be more inclusive of women.

Klein also wrote that "When any visiting dignitary travels to New York City, the Mayor works to accommodate their visit and provide appropriate security." The mayor has himself said similar things when questioned by reporters.

Well before the announcement of the pope's visit, even before de Blasio's July visit to the Vatican for a conference on climate change, de Blasio began citing Pope Francis as an essential voice in the fight against inequality, and thus a validator of the mayor's agenda, which includes creating affordable housing and reforming the criminal justice system.

It is uncertain that Pope Francis will discuss de Blasio's work in any specificity while in New York, but the mayor will greet the pope at Kennedy Airport Thursday and accompany Francis at most of his public appearances, which include a speech at the UN and a visit to an East Harlem school.

Like the pope, de Blasio has sought to tie economic and environmental justice together, releasing his OneNYC plan with long-term goals for sustainability, housing, and poverty-reduction.

De Blasio gladly accepted the chance to speak at the pope's climate conference. At the Vatican, de Blasio said of Pope Francis, "This is a leader such as we haven't seen before, really. He is saying things so clearly and so powerfully all over the world that need to be said...What he is doing is, he's creating an international voice of conscience that I can't think of any previous parallel for."

de blasio pope francis

As de Blasio and Francis hit several similar themes, they are hearing similar attacks. While de Blasio is being called out by some for overstepping the secular ideal of city government, Francis is being criticized for being overly political.

De Blasio has been painted as a liberal boogeyman by many on the right and Francis has begun to hear similar barbs. Republican Congressional Rep. Paul Gosar, from Arizona, is among those who planned to boycott Pope Francis' speech in front of Congress because he is dismayed that the pope is taking on climate change. In a recent op-ed explaining his criticism, Gosar wrote, "When the pope chooses to act like a left­ist politi­cian, then he can ex­pect to be treated like one."

One can imagine de Blasio hearing this and smiling.

When in Rome, de Blasio discussed being convened by Francis to take part in efforts to combat climate change, saying, "having the support of His Holiness is the most encouraging thing I can think of. It's the most empowering possibility to have the strongest moral voice in the globe today calling us to action."

On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a political force de Blasio has had limited success marshalling to his advantage, spoke of Pope Francis. "In some ways, ironically, the pope's message isn't even religious. It is so universal that it is just humanitarian. It's communitarian," Cuomo told NY1's Zack Fink.

Here, de Blasio and Cuomo are on the same page, looking to the world's preeminent religious figure as a voice for universal righteousness. On Wednesday, as de Blasio invoked Francis' name again and again, he repeatedly stressed a non-religious message, at one point saying, "All of us can feel commonality in Pope Francis' vision of a more inclusive society. It doesn't matter, again, what faith you believe in – Pope Francis is a moral voice, speaking to all of us, calling all of us to action."

***
by Ben Max, Gotham Gazette
@tweetBenMax

]]>
In Pope Francis, De Blasio Finds Ultimate Validator Wed, 23 Sep 2015 20:27:38 +0000
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 21 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5895:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-21 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5895:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-september-21 New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

THE POPE IS COMING: Pope Francis is coming to New York City at the end of the week, with public events on Thursday and Friday. The Pope's visit to the city will coincide with the UN General Assembly, at which he will speak, and will include mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday after a procession through Central Park, a visit to a school in East Harlem, and a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Significance, attention, security, and traffic will all be heavy.

TAKING ON K-2: There's a new drug crippling New Yorkers and it is "K-2" or "synthetic marijuana" (though it is not actually a form of marijuana) and city officials are working to quickly combat what some have said could lead to a new crack epidemic. Mayor de Blasio announced a multi-agency strategy last week and the City Council has seen several bills introduced to up regulation and enforcement. The Council will hold a hearing Monday on the bills, which have been introduced by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others.

TRACKING DE BLASIO: The mayor gave a big education speech on Wednesday last week and followed it up with efforts to spread the word about his plans, including an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board and another appearance on WNYC. De Blasio has said he will be taking his message to New Yorkers more and more in the coming weeks as he ramps up efforts to improve his public approval numbers and make sure that his programs and plans are known.

De Blasio had no public events Saturday. On Sunday, the mayor appeared on This Week on ABC, delivered remarks to the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, and marched in and deliver remarks at the African American Day Parade in Harlem.

On Monday, de Blasio is set to hold a noon press conference to discuss the upcoming papal visit. De Blasio is also meeting privately with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and former tennis star James Blake regarding NYPD reforms and the recent incident in which Blake was mistakenly arrested by an NYPD officer and handled roughly in the process.

We also know that on Thursday evening, de Blasio is expected to speak at an event at The New School: "to engage with world-leading Mayors and local government representatives as they pledge their support for the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) in their cities and commit to implementing the new urban agenda between now and 2030."

AS FOR THE GOVERNOR: Governor Cuomo also participates in events related to the African-American Day Parade on Sunday. His remarks Sunday morning focused on calling for federal action on gun regulations and raising the minimum wage. Cuomo was asked about recents reports that federal prosecutors are investigating his Buffalo Billion program around the contracting process - the governor maintains he knows nothing about the investigation other than what he reads in the newspaper and downplays subpoenas being issued, saying that as Attorney General he used to issue many as part of fact-finding, but that does not mean there's been criminal behavior.

On Monday, Cuomo has no public events scheduled.

See below for more details about Monday and the rest of a very busy week in New York politics in our day-by-day rundown...

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At the City Council on Monday:

  • 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs in conjunction with the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services, Committee on Health, Committee on Public Safety, Committee on Aging  will meet to discuss “The Proliferation of Illegal Synthetic Cannabinoids: Health Impacts and Enforcement.” The bill would suspend cigarette dealer licenses for any “dealer who violates the provisions of the proposed synthetic drug prohibition” and “create a mandatory revocation for a second violation of such proposed prohibition.” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will give opening remarks.
  • 11 a.m. the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss three land use applications for Landmarks, Corbin Building, 11 John St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Stonewall Inn, 51-53 Christopher St, Manhattan , Landmarks, Riverside-West End Historic District Extension II, Manhattan.
  • 1 p.m. The Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear the introduction of four initiatives. The first bill, presented by Council Member Deborah L. Rose, prohibits “employment discrimination based on an individual’s actual or perceived status as a caregiver.” The following three propose expansions on the New York City Human Rights Law. Rose will also introduce one of these bills, as she seeks to expand the definition of “employer under the human rights law to provide protections for domestic workers.” She will be joined by Council Members Inez D. Barron and Brad S. Lander who will introduce legislation to clarify “reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities,”  “expand the right to truthful information” and to create “an express cause of action for employers and principals whose rights are violated by conduct to which their employees or agents are subjected.”

At 9 a.m. Monday the New York State Department of Health will hold one in a series of “From Blueprint to Action: Ending the Epidemic - New York Statewide Regional Discussions,” to address the problem of HIV/AIDS in New York State. Monday’s event, on the Upper West Side, will provide information about HIV/AIDS and related services, include opportunities for public input, and offer a Call to Action to end the epidemic by 2020.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday, "The New York State Democratic Committee will hold its Fall business meeting on Monday, September 21st in New York City."

Monday on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will appear to discuss “the film industry’s expansion into the Bronx, with several television shows being shot in the borough as of late and Silvercup Studios, home to shows such as "Girls"  and "30 Rock," spending $35 million to convert a warehouse in Port Morris to a film and television production complex.”

At 11 a.m. Monday in Brooklyn, "Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, joined by citywide elected officials, residents, and community organizations will gather at the Raymond V. Ingersoll Houses on Monday to make a public appeal for community cooperation to aid in NYPD apprehension of suspect(s) involved in Sunday's triple homicide." Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to attend.

At noon in downtown Brooklyn, "At a major news event organized by the Real Affordability for All campaign, Mayor de Blasio will be pressured to revise his rezoning plan for East New York, the South Bronx, and other neighborhoods to ensure that current low-income residents have access to real affordable housing and good-paying union construction jobs...This event comes as the public land review process is set to begin Monday for the rezoning of East New York and amid growing concern that de Blasio's plan will accelerate gentrification and displacement in low-income communities of color, leaving behind too many vulnerable New Yorkers."

Also at noon, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito will moderate the Q&A session with Chelsea Clinton at the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee Annual Fall Luncheon.

At 1 p.m. in the Bronx, “New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye will announce the launch of "MyNYCHA," a new mobile application for residents to make repair requests. With the free app, residents can create, schedule, and manage work tickets via their mobile devices (smartphones or tablets). They can also subscribe to alerts for outages in their developments (NYCHA Alerts) and view inspection appointments.”

“Freelancers across New York City gather on Monday, September 21st for the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign Launch and Brooklyn Town Hall Meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall.” The event will be led by Sara Horowitz, Founder of Freelancers Union, Brooklyn City Council Members including Brad Lander, and “New York City’s finest freelancers to talk about the issue and ways we can make a change.”

At 6:30 p.m. The New School’s Milano School is set to host Politics & Policy Series: Examination of Voting Rights in 2016 US Election at 6:30 p.m. Ari Berman of the Nation will read from his book Give Us the Ballot. Following a brief reading, New School urban policy professor Jeff Smith will moderate a conversation with Berman, New York Times national political correspondent Maggie Haberman, and Fordham political science professor Christina Greer.

On a similar note, at 7 p.m. Monday The New York City Campaign Finance Board will host its National Voter Registration Day Kick-Off, part of a non-partisan effort to register all eligible citizens nationwide. Lisa Evers of Fox 5 News and Hot 97 will discuss voting rights and the immigrant vote with panelists Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of National Urban League; L. Joy Williams, President of the Brooklyn NAACP; Steven Choi, Executive Director of the NY Immigration Coalition; and Jaime Estades, Director of Latino Leadership Institute, voting rights and the immigrant vote in 2016. Crystal Valentine, the 2015 Youth Poet Laureate, will perform after the discussion.

Also at 7 p.m., Daniel A. Zarrilli, Director of the city’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, invites the public to join his office at the second public hearing regarding an update on Lower Manhattan resiliency efforts.  The discussion will touch on issues of coastal protection, stormwater management and resiliency upgrades for affordable housing developments. The draft for the Resiliency Update is available for review online at nyc.gov/cdbg.

"On Monday, September 21, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be the guest on the 1,000th episode of "BronxTalk," hosted by Gary Axelbank and airing on Bronxnet. The show, which airs at 9 p.m., will be streamed live at www.bronxnet.org, and can be viewed in The Bronx on Cablevision channel 67 or Verizon FiOS channel 33."

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Monday, September 21:

  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1:30 p.m.
  • Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.
  • CM Laurie Cumbo (District 35, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Steven Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.
  • CM Costa Constantides (District 22, Queens) 7 p.m. 

Tuesday
Tuesday morning NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton will speak at an Assocation for a Better New York (ABNY) breakfast event. He will discuss “the NYPD’s efforts to address public safety and quality of life conditions in New York.”

At 9:30 a.m. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a meeting at Queens Borough Hall, which “focuses on city service delivery and agency responsiveness across the borough and hears presentations on these issues from City officials and others.”

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • 10 a.m. The Committee on Contracts will meet with the Committee on Public Housing to examine “the Need for Contracting Accountability and Transparency at NYCHA in Light of Leaking Roofs at King Towers”
  • 10 a.m. The Committee on General Welfare will conduct a “Review of HRA’s Employment Plan Concept Papers.”
  • 10 a.m. The Committee on Environmental Protection will discuss “Use of geothermal energy in New York City.”
  • 10 a.m. The Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss, “Higher Education Access for Incarcerated and Recently Incarcerated Individuals.” and  “Support of President Barack Obama’s Second Chance Pell Pilot Program”

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. Over the next several months drives will be held to increase awareness about the importance of voting. The list of the events can be found on this calendar. "Only 81% of NYC's eligible voting age population is registered to vote, and just 20% of eligible voters actually voted in 2014. NVRD is about increasing those numbers and invigorating the voting population. Our democracy, after all, is only as strong as its participants.”

On Tuesday, "Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., the New York State Department of Labor and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation will co-host a Bronx Job Fair."

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday the New York State Preparedness Corps Training Program will host a two hour long event intended to provide residents with “the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster” and to “respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.” The program is sponsored by Gov. Cuomo, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Queens BP Melinda Katz, State Senator James Sanders Jr. and City Councilman Donovan Richards.

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Tuesday, September 22:

  • CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.
  • Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.
  • Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday
Wednesday looks slower in New York City as many participate in the Yom Kippur holiday. Other events can, of course, pop up last-minute.

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Wednesday, September 23:

  • Carlos Menchaca (Distict 38, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.
  • I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) 7 p.m.

Thursday
At 8 a.m. Thursday, City & State NY will hold its 4th Annual "On Diversity" event featuring leaders in government, business, and advocacy to discuss the social and economic advantages of promoting diversity in both the public and private sectors. Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor, will make keynote remarks. Panels will include R. Fenimore Fisher, Chief Diversity and EEO Officer at the New York City DCAS; Carra Wallace, Chief Diversity Officer at the Office of the NYC Comptroller; Charissa Fernandez, Executive Director of Teach for America; Bertha Lewis, Founder and President of The Black Institute; Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight of MWBEs; and Assemblymember Michael Blake, Chair at the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama.

At 10 a.m. Thursday the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold its next public meeting.

At 10 a.m. the New York State Assembly will have a public hearing regarding child poverty in the NY state. New York currently has “some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country.”

At about 5 p.m. Thursday Pope Francis will arrive at JFK airport. It will be his first visit to New York and the first Papal visit since 2008. At 6:45 p.m. Pope Francis will hold an evening prayer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. [On Friday the Pope will visit the United Nations, attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, hold a mass at Madison Square Garden and have a historic procession through Central Park.]

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a panel hosted by the New York City Bar Association: “New York City- Building Energy Benchmarking Law: Acting On the Results” will evaluate NYC’s landmark Local Law 84. The event is co-sponsored by the Bar’s Environmental Law Committee and chair Michael G. Mahoney in conjunction with the Sallan Foundation, the New York League of Conservation Voters, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.

At 7 p.m., Cities Deliver Sustainable Development: Global Urban Leaders Endorse and Operationalize the SDGs will be hosted by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) at the New School, in association with the Campaign for Urban SDG, the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments and the Tishman Environment and Design Center. Expected speakers include Mayor Bill de Blasio, as well as Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of California; Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris; Eduardo Paes, Mayor of Rio de Janeiro; Xu Qin, Mayor of Shenzhen; Mpho Franklyn Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg; Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul; and Park Won-soon, Mayor of Seoul.

City Council Participatory Budgeting events Thursday, September 24:

  • CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 5:30 p.m.
  • CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.
  • CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 p.m.
  • CM Andrew Cohen (District 11, Bronx) 7 p.m.

Friday and the weekend
At the City Council on Friday:

  • 10 a.m. Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require new grocery store owners to retain the previous owner’s staff for a transition period after a business is sold.” After the transition period, the new employer would also have to evaluate each employee and consider keeping them. The second bill seeks to “extend health insurance coverage to the surviving spouses, domestic partners and children of employees of the Sanitation Enforcement Division of the Department of Sanitation who died on or after July 29, 2015."
  • 10 a.m. the Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet to discuss three pieces of legislation. The first would require owners of buildings with over 50,000 gross square feet to file energy efficiency reports every five years. The second pushes “low energy building requirements for certain capital projects.” The bill would also require the Mayor to produce several reports that track and confirm capital project compliance with the law. The final bill would impose “green building standards for certain capital projects.”
  • 10 a.m. the Committee on Juvenile Justice will meet to examine “ACS’s Juvenile Offender Population.”
  • 11 a.m. Committee on Land Use will meet in the Committee Room in City Hall.
  • 1 p.m. the Committee on State and Federal Legislature will meet to pass resolutions on: Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act of 2015, Improving the Treatment of the U.S. Territories Under Federal Health Programs Act of 2015, and Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the “Jones Act.”
  • 1 p.m. Committee on Small Business will meet to discuss two bills. The first “would require an employee within the Mayor’s Office For People With Disabilities to be designated as a small business accessibility coordinator, responsible for liaising with agencies involved in accessibility projects and for educating business owners and operators about their obligations under local, state, and federal law to make their businesses accessible to people with disabilities.” The second “would create a cause of action for harassment of small businesses and other non-residential tenants by landlords.”
  • 1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet to discuss the Build It Back 2015 Update.

Friday will be a busy day for Pope Francis in New York City.

  • At 8:30 a.m. he is set to visit the United Nations and give an address to the UN General Assembly. His speech will concentrate on challenges that face humanity in the 21st century, such as sustainable development and climate change. He will also meet with UN officials.
  • At 11:30 a.m. the Pope will visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
  • Later, the Pope will pay a visit to an East Harlem School, Our Lady Queen of Angels, that has been providing elementary level education in the area for 120 years.
  • Then, in the late afternoon, Pope Francis will participate in a Central Park procession.
  • Lastly, at about 6 p.m., Pope Francis will hold mass at Madison Square Garden. He departs for Philadelphia on Saturday.

On Friday beginning at 9 a.m.: “NYC Media Lab's Annual Summit is a snapshot of the best thinking, projects, and talent in digital media from universities in NYC and beyond. This is an opportunity for media executives, technologists, and decision makers to explore interesting technologies and applications related to the future of media.” The event, being held at NYU, will include remarks from Maria Torres-Springer, head of the city’s Economic Development Corporation and Luis Castro of the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment.

At 8:30 a.m. Friday Crain’s New York Business is hosting an “Art & Culture Breakfast: The Next Generation of New York’s Cultural Leaders.

A City Council Participatory Budgeting event is being held Friday by CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, there will be City Council Participatory Budgeting events held by CM I. Daneek Miller (District 27, Queens) at 1p.m. and CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, Participatory Budgeting events are being held by:

  • CM Robert Carnegy (District 36, Brooklyn) 1p.m.
  • CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 9:45 a.m.
  • CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 p.m.

***
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: bmax@gothamgazette.com (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max
@GothamGazette

]]>
The Week Ahead in New York Politics, September 21 Sun, 20 Sep 2015 05:00:00 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, September 14-18 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5894:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-september-14-18 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5894:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-september-14-18 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday 

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio delivers an education speech, via The Mayor's Office on flickr; NYPD Commissioner Bratton is briefed as the city prepares for the Pope's visit next week, via NYPD; the Mayor's administration faced off with the City Council in softball, via John Kenny

BdB edu speech

bratton briefing

bdb mmv softball

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. De Blasio Education Announcement: The mayor gave an "Equity and Excellence" education speech Wednesday, outlining a wide-ranging education policy plan that will commit about $186 million per year to enhance the performance and readiness of the city's students. Key elements include expanding computer science and advanced placement courses and adding reading specialists. The pieces will work in conjunction with previously announced de Blasio education initiatives including pre-kindergarten and community schools.

2. Cuomo Commits $ to Hudson Rail Tunnel: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sent a letter to President Obama offering to fund half of the Hudson River rail tunnel project if the federal government pledges to pay for the other half. The project could cost up to $20 billion and has been the source of tension between federal and local officials.

3. Crackdown on K2: On Wednesday, authorities announced that they had dismantled an international ring responsible for manufacturing and distributing synthetic marijuana, known as K2 or spice, which drug officials say has caused a public-health crisis. The mayor has designed a multi-agency strategy to combat the proliferation of K2 and several bills have been introduced into the City Council.

4. Papal Visit, UN General Assembly Create Security Challenge: Pope Francis' visit next week coincides with the annual U.N. General Assembly, which will bring 170 world leaders to the city, creating what Police Commissioner William Bratton called "the largest security challenge the department and this city have ever faced." Federal and city agencies are preparing for the security and transit logistics.

5. Bharara Investigates Cuomo's Buffalo Billion: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is reportedly investigating Gov. Cuomo's controversial Buffalo Billion revitalization project, according to The New York Post. The investigation focuses on the multimillion-dollar contracts awarded to build facilities for high-tech, drug-development, and clean-energy businesses.

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:

  • $60 billion was spent on education in the 2013-14 school year in New York State, averaging $21,812 for each of the state’s 3 million students.
  • Up to $20 million in federal funds will be given to New York City as part of a pilot program to decrease traffic injuries. As many as 10,000 vehicles will be fitted with smart devices designed to reduce traffic injuries, congestion, and pollution by 2017, and traffic lights will also be set up to beam information.
  • 20.9% is New York City's poverty rate, according data released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday, meaning that the poverty rate has not lowered at all since last year.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

  • It was a good week for Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu, who joined Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office while he is on sabbatical. Wu, who coined the phrase "net neutrality," will serve as a senior lawyer and special adviser to Schneiderman focusing on technology and the law. Wu was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2014.
  • It was a bad week for former Assemblymember Bill Scarborough, a Democrat, who was sentenced to 13 months in prison and two years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to state and federal corruption charges.

THE FLASH:

  • Around this time 95 years ago, on September 16, 1920, Wall Street was hit by a bomb blast outside the headquarters of J.P. Morgan. The blast killed several dozen people and injured hundreds more. Authorities believed it was the work of anarchists, but the bombers were never found.
  • Around this time 23 years ago, on September 16, 1992, thousands of off-duty police officers stormed City Hall to protest Mayor David Dinkins' support for an all-civilian police complaint review board.
  • Around this time 4 years ago, on September 17, 2011, a demonstration calling itself "Occupy Wall Street" began in New York.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Cautious Optimism Ahead of Hearing on Citywide Ferry System, by Christian Zhang

Rumored Scheme Brings Scrutiny to Bronx Political Machine, by David Howard King

Did Bill De Blasio's Tirade Help Andrew Cuomo Get His Groove Back? by David Howard King

How To Become A New York City Council Member, by Catie Edmondson

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

  • Gotham Gazette's David King appeared on The Capitol Connection to discuss the latest with Governor Cuomo and more.
  • The Economist looks at how Mayor de Blasio is "doin'."
  • New Quinnipiace poll results show how New Yorkers are feeling about their elected officials and more.

***
NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: bmax@gothamgazette.com

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

***
by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

]]>
The Week That Was in New York Politics, September 14-18 Fri, 18 Sep 2015 16:25:20 +0000