Gotham Gazette http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/539 Fri, 15 Dec 2017 16:24:08 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Webmaster) The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 29-March 4 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6207:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-29-march-4 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6207:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-29-march-4 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday March 4, 2016

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio and City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr. visit Bed-Stuy businesses, via William Alatriste;

bdb cornegy bed stuy

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:
1. Budget Talks Begin: On Tuesday, the City Council held the first of many preliminary budget hearings. Two issues that came up time and again were concerns about cuts to city funding in Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposal, and whether the city is adequately saving for an economic downturn. As hearings proceed this month, Council committees will hear from agency commissioners, leading to the Council’s official preliminary budget response, due by March 30. [Read: City Council to Begin Public Examination of Mayor's Budget & At First Council Budget Hearing, Concerns Over City Savings and State Cuts]

2. Summons Shift: On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bratton, and Manhattan District Attorney Vance announced a policing shift under which NYPD in Manhattan will issue summonses to individuals who commit low-level offenses like public consumption of alcohol, public urination, and various subway offenses, instead of arresting them. City officials hope the change will free up resources to prosecute more serious crimes and reduce the backlog of cases in Criminal Court. De Blasio said he expects to expand the effort to all five boroughs while some wondered why the move was being taken while the City Council considers legislation in a similar vein.

3. Housing, Cuomo Criticism: During a City Council budget hearing on Thursday, city housing commissioner Vicki Been sharply criticized a proposal in Gov. Cuomo’s budget that would change how the state allocates housing bonds, calling it a “poison pill” for affordable housing. Been added that 1,200 below-market-rate units in the city were held up by Cuomo at the end of last year. Been, budget watchdogs, the real estate industry, and contractors have come out against Cuomo’s proposal, warning that it could drive away funding and create gridlock. [Listen: Max and Murphy on Housing]

4. More on Rikers: Discussions about the feasibility of closing the city’s notorious jail complex, Rikers Island, continued this week, with Comptroller Scott Stringer calling the 27 percent increase in the number of personal injury claims filed against the city for mistreatment in the city’s correctional facilities a “humanitarian crisis.” Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, meanwhile, hopes that her plan to reform the bail system in the city, which is in the process of being implemented, will make it possible to close Rikers. [Read: Key to Vision of Closing Rikers, City Council Bail Fund Moves Through State Process]

5. State Budget Woes: Several significant questions about the governor’s budget proposal remain less than a month before the plan is set to be finalized, including around how major capital projects will be paid for, how the state will fund the MTA, and whether Cuomo will keep his pledge that his plan to shift millions in costs for CUNY and Medicaid “won’t cost New York City a penny.” [Read: Several Significant Questions About The Governor's Budget]

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:

  • 9% of all households in New York City, or nearly 280,000 units, have more than one person per room, the latest Census Bureau data reveals, indicating that crowded living arrangements are increasingly common across the city.
  • $86 million spent on lobbying in New York City last year, a new record; with lobbying receipts from one firm led by one of Mayor de Blasio’s friends and fundraisers totalling nearly $13 million alone, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • 92 New York City high schools will allow juniors to take the SAT free of charge during regular school hours, the first step in a plan to administer the test in all 438 high schools next year, the Times reports.
  • 40% of students in New York City recommended for special-education services may not be getting them, a report from the Department of Education finds.
  • 2,846 personal injury claims from city jails were filed during fiscal year 2015 - a 27% jump from the previous fiscal year, the Journal reports.
  • $13.1 million spent by the city to pay for settlements or judgments resulting from injury or deaths in city jails in fiscal year 2015 - a 66% increase from the previous fiscal year, Reuters reports.
  • 18% drop in the number of evictions in New York City from 2014 to 2015, down to 21,988, the lowest total since 2005, which the city attributes to more legal services and preventive efforts to keep New Yorkers from becoming homeless, the Times reports.
  • 180 instances of improper searches of people’s homes by the police based on an investigation conducted by the CCRB of 1,762 complaints over five years, according to a report released by the CCRB.
  • 17 affordable houses still vacant after a decade in a city-run affordable housing program, DNAinfo reports.
  • $4.8 billion over the next four years is how much Governor Cuomo's proposed budget would cost New York City, Gotham Gazette reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

It was a good week for Assembly Member Keith Wright, whose prospects of winning the race to replace retiring Rep. Charles Rangel got a boost after state Senator Bill Perkins dropped out of the race and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie decided to back Wright in his run for Congress.

It was a bad week for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has made the need to direct those who commit low-level, nonviolent offenses to a civil court system rather than jail a priority, yet was not included in a policy shift announced by the Mayor, the NYPD, and the Manhattan District Attorney that will reduce arrests for low-level offenses.

THE FLASH:
Around this time last year
, on March 4, 2015, Mayor de Blasio announced that New York City will add two Muslim holy days to the public school calendar, becoming the country's first major metropolitan city to close public schools in observance of the two most sacred Muslim holy days.

Around this time last year, on March 2, 2015, the Department of Education lifted a ban on cellphones in New York City schools.

Around this time two years ago, on March 4, 2014, news broke that the city was expected to file a settlement of stop-and-frisk lawsuits, not long after Mayor de Blasio had announced that the city would drop its appeal of a ruling that had found NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional, and would agree to have a court monitor oversee reforms. Just this week, Mayor de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bratton, and Manhattan District Attorney Vance announced a new major policy shift in the way the NYPD in Manhattan will handle low-level offenses, building upon previous efforts to reduce the use of arrests for minor offenses.

Around this time 48 years ago, on March 1, 1968, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was created to oversee transportation operations in 12 counties.

Around this time 227 years ago, on March 4, 1789, after being established by the Constitution, Congress met for the first time at New York City’s Federal Hall.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:
Key to Vision of Closing Rikers, City Council Bail Fund Moves Through State Process, by David Howard King

City Council to Begin Public Examination of Mayor's Budget, by Meg O’Connor and Samar Khurshid

Several Significant Questions About The Governor's Budget, by David Howard King

At First Council Budget Hearing, Concerns Over City Savings and State Cuts, by Samar Khurshid and Meg O’Connor

Calls for More Transparency, Oversight in Department of Education Contracting, by Samar Khurshid

Housing Groups Defend Homelessness Report After Pushback from Cuomo Administration, by David Howard King

Supporters Launch Renewed Push to Pass Plastic Bag Bill by Earth Day, by Samar Khurshid

Ten Days in the Life of a Police Reform Advocate, by Bob Gangi (opinion)

A Budget for Immigrant New York, by Cristina Molina (opinion)

Will the Democrats' Fresh Entitlements Lift Poor Families? by Bruce Fuller (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Each week, Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max and City Limits Executive Editor Jarrett Murphy discuss the latest on housing policy and politics in New York. Listen to the latest developments in affordable housing here.

Mayor de Blasio appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Thursday, and spoke about the sharing economy, income inequality, the role of a mayor, and universal pre-k (extended interview).

Alyssa Katz from the Daily News and NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt join Alexis Grenell and Nick Powell to discuss the politics surrounding New York City’s homeless crisis on this week’s NY Slant Podcast.

Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, Gordon Campbell from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Frederick Shack, executive director of Urban Pathways, appear on Inside City Hall to discuss the collapse of the social services agency FEGS and the lessons for nonprofit organizations.

Politico New York’s Sally Goldenberg takes an in-depth look at the city’s senior housing crisis.

Mayor de Blasio appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe to discuss the presidential primaries.

***
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

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 29-March 4 Fri, 04 Mar 2016 18:16:48 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 22-26 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6195:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-22-26 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6195:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-22-26 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 26, 2015.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio & NYPD officials unveil CompStat 2.0, via Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office; Gov. Cuomo and his minimum wage bus, via Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor.

de blasio bratton compstat

cuomo minimum wage bus

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:
1. Private Sector Retirement:
On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio, joined by Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and others, held a press conference in City Hall to advocate for a city-run retirement savings program for private sector workers. The ‘Security for All New Yorkers’ plan aims to allow some 1.4 million private sector workers who do not have a retirement savings plan through their employer to have contributions automatically deducted from their paycheck. However, federal regulations must change for the retirement plan to move forward. [Read: Private Sector Retirement Security Plans Become Next Progressive Cause]

2. Special Election: Rafael Salamanca, Jr., a district manager at Bronx Community Board 2, is the newest member of the City Council after winning a special election in District 17 in the Bronx on Tuesday. Salamanca’s win against the five other candidates didn’t come as much of a surprise, as he had the backing of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and unions. Salamanca will replace Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who resigned last December. [Read: Voters to Fill Vacant Bronx Council Seat in Special Election]

3. Rezoning East New York: On Wednesday, the City Planning Commission approved Mayor de Blasio’s rezoning plan for the East New York section of Brooklyn, despite vocal opposition from community members. The proposal now heads to the City Council, and Council members who represent the area have expressed concern about the plan’s affordability levels for their constituents. East New York will be the first of 15 neighborhoods to be rezoned as part of de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. [Read: Richards Puts Communities of Color at Forefront of Housing Debate]

4. CompStat 2.0: On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, and Deputy Commissioner of Information and Technology Jessica Tish unveiled CompStat 2.0, an interactive online crime data system that tracks the date and location to the nearest intersection of major crimes like shootings, murders, and rapes.

5. Homelessness Dispute: The feud between the city and state over the city’s homelessness problems escalated this week after HRA Commissioner Steven Banks sent a letter to a state official blasting the Cuomo administration for leaking a false report of a gang rape in a city homeless shelter to a tabloid in what Banks described as a “political media hit” that undermined the city’s efforts to help homeless individuals. Banks called on the state to address its own shortcomings to improve the homelessness crisis.

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:

  • 3296 votes cast during Tuesday’s special election in the Bronx, according to the Board of Elections’ unofficial election night results.
  • 19% increase in reported sex crimes on the subways, from 620 in 2014 to 738 in 2015, the Times reports.
  • 9 second increase in the amount of time ambulances took to respond to life threatening emergencies in 2015 (9 minutes, 22 seconds), despite added funding to reduce response times, the Daily News reports.
  • 81 ambulance tours - 10% of shifts citywide - will be eliminated as one of the city’s biggest private ambulance companies shut down Wednesday after filing for bankruptcy, according to WNYC.
  • 49% of New York City residents see the ongoing feud between Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo as a “power struggle,” rather than actual policy differences according to an NY1/Baruch College poll.
  • 43% of working New Yorkers have access to a retirement plan and 40% of New Yorkers between the ages of 50 and 64 have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 11 letters exchanged between city and state officials in recent weeks over the conditions of New York City’s homeless shelters and violence in the shelters, culminating in a scathing letter from HRA Commissioner Steven Banks this week, the Times reports
  • $71.9 million spent by lobbyists in an effort to sway city government in 2014, the Journal reports.
  • 1.4 million New Yorkers currently do not have a retirement savings plan through their employers, the Times reports.
  • 1,083 teachers from New York City schools still collect salaries and benefits without holding full-time positions in the school, according to data released by the education department, Chalkbeat reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:
It was a good week for
Mayor de Blasio, whose approval rating is up 14 points from September according to a NY1/Baruch College poll, which found 58 percent of New York City residents approve of the job the mayor is doing.

It was a bad week for Brooklyn City Council Member David Greenfield, who saw his leadership role questioned amid disagreements within the Council.

THE FLASH:
Around this time 51 years ago, on February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was shot and killed by Nation of Islam followers at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

Around this time last year, on February 24, 2015, former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver pleaded not guilty to the federal corruption charges against him during his arraignment. Silver was found guilty on all seven counts against him in November, 2015.

Around this time 19 years ago, on February 23, 1997, a gunman opened fire on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, killing one person and wounding six others before turning the gun on himself.

Around this time two years ago, on February 26, 2014, the City Council passed a bill expanding paid sick leave.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Richards Puts Communities of Color at Forefront of Housing Debate, by Ben Max

Caucus Members Cheerful But Cautious as Cuomo Embraces Their Agenda, by David Howard King

Private Sector Retirement Security Plans Become Next Progressive Cause, David Howard King

Application Season Underscores Community Board Reform Efforts, Ryan Brady

Voters to Fill Vacant Bronx Council Seat in Special Election, Samar Khurshid

Special Election Shows Need for Democratization, by Serin Choi (opinion)

Protecting Freelancers: Policy Innovation at Work, by Jesse Strauss (opinion)

No Surprise Uber Drivers Are Protesting, by David Beier (opinion)

Shut Down the Criminal Court, by Steven Zeidman (opinion)

Peter Liang’s Conviction Shouldn't Be Dividing the Asian American Community, by Justin Chan (opinion)

Safe and Healthy Housing for All New Yorkers, by Dulce María Rivera (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Gotham Gazette’s city government reporter Samar Khurshid and Alex Armlovich, policy analyst from the Manhattan Institute talk about welfare reform under Mayor de Blasio with City Limits executive editor Jarrett Murphy on BRIC TV.

Neil Barsky, founder and chairman of the Marshall Project, and Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union joined NY Slant’s Gerson Borrero and Nick Powell to discuss feasibility, motives, and politics around the movement to close Rikers Island, and efforts to reform the notorious jail complex.

After the City Planning Commission approved a comprehensive plan to rezone East New York as part of an effort to create more affordable housing, Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod sat down with NY1’s Errol Louis to discuss the plan.

Catch up on the latest discussion of housing policy and politics in New York with Gotham Gazette's Ben Max and City Limits' Jarrett Murphy.

Following the dismal turnout in Tuesday’s special election in the Bronx, former Bronx state Assemblymember Michael Benjamin wrote in NY Slant about the dire need for more efforts to increase voter engagement and participation.

***
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

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 22-26 Fri, 26 Feb 2016 19:41:37 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 15-19 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6180:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-15-19 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6180:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-15-19 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 19

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio celebrates the launch of the LinkNYC wifi hubs, via The Mayor's Office; Governor Cuomo rallies to promote paid family leave, via The Governor's Office.

de blasio LINKNYC

cuomo paid family leave motion

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. Closing Rikers: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called for a commission to study the potential of closing Rikers Island jails during her State of the City address last week, sparking discussions on what to do about the city’s notorious complex. Mayor de Blasio said closing Rikers is a “noble concept,” but unrealistic, while his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray, called closing Rikers a “great idea.” Mark-Viverito has continued the discussion this week, explaining that the criminal justice reforms aim to reduce the number of New Yorkers who end up in Rikers, diminishing the population in the jail. [Read: Mark-Viverito 'Doubles Down' on Criminal Justice Reform in State of the City]

2. Mayor Signs Raises, Reforms: Mayor de Blasio signed a package of legislation into law today that raises the salaries of the city’s elected officials by at least 12 percent and reforms the job descriptions of City Council members, even though the raises for Council members were $10,185 higher than what he initially approved. While the Council has been praised for several good government reforms included in the bills, the lack of public input, rushed timeline, and size of the pay increase has sparked criticism. [Read: De Blasio to Sign Higher Raises for Council Than He Previously Approved]

3. Stop-and-Frisk: A report released Tuesday by a court-appointed federal monitor found that NYPD officers are still unclear about changes to stop-and-frisk rules, leading many to continue to stopping New Yorkers on the streets without providing a just cause. Stop-and-frisks have decreased from 685,000 in 2011 to 24,000 in 2015, yet according to the report, officers failed to explain the grounds on which they stopped someone to question them in more than a fourth of all stops.

4. Vacant Lots: An audit released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer criticized the city for not using vacant lots to create more affordable housing after finding that more than 1,000 city-owned lots have been sitting vacant for over 30 years. The audit faults the Department of Housing Preservation and Development for routinely failing to properly turn over land to developers. City officials have called Stringer’s report “false and misleading,” saying many of the properties lack basic infrastructure and that many others are in line for development.

5. Shelter Squalor: An audit released by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli slammed the Cuomo administration for a severe lack of oversight of homeless shelters, saying the state’s failure led to squalid living conditions, including rodent infestations, fire hazards, and mold. Auditors noted that 22 of the 47 most serious issues had previously been pointed out in annual inspections, but had never been corrected. Governor Cuomo has since conceded “the state was not aggressive enough for a period of time.”

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:

  • 10,000 people are currently locked up at Rikers Island, NY1’s Errol Louis writes for the Daily News.
  • 24,000 stop-and-frisk stops in 2015 - a 661,000 decrease in the number of stop-and-frisks since 2011, the Times reports.
  • 75 schools across New York City will overhaul math teaching, Chalkbeat reports.
  • 1,000 city-owned lots or more have been sitting vacant for over 30 years, according to an audit from city Comptroller Scott Stringer.
  • $47 million from the state will be spent on the development of the Empire Outlets on Staten Island as part of a “multi-pronged subsidy that increased after the developers contributed $85,000 to the governor’s campaign,” Politico reports.
  • 16 shelters with rodent and vermin infestations statewide, 18 with fire safety issues, and 8 with mold growing in residents’ rooms, an audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticizing the Cuomo administration for failing to provide adequate oversight of homeless shelters revealed.
  • 200 recommendations for improving East Harlem and informing Mayor de Blasio’s rezoning plan from a coalition of East Harlem stakeholders, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 490,000 New Yorkers on the welfare roles over the course of 2015, with the average family of three receiving $826 per month under the system, and an individual receiving about $485, Gotham Gazette reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

  • It was a good week for First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, who made several media appearances this week to discuss the city’s mental health roadmap, which McCray spearheads, and was extensively and favorably profiled in The New York Times Magazine and in Jezebel.
  • And, it was a good week for the city’s 64 elected officials, all of whom received at least a 12 percent increase to their salaries today.
  • It was a bad week for Governor Cuomo after state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released an audit that criticized the Cuomo administration for failing to provide enough oversight of homeless shelters.

THE FLASH:

  • Around this time 65 years ago, on February 16, 1951, the City Council passed a bill barring racial discrimination in housing projects, according to NY1.
  • Around this time 63 years ago, on February 17, 1953, a New York federal court delayed the executions of Cold War spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to allow time for a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their appeal failed, and the two were executed in New York months later, according to NY1.

 

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

In Departure from Predecessors, De Blasio Administration Overhauls City Welfare System, by Samar Khurshid

De Blasio to Sign Higher Raises for Council Than He Previously Approved, by Meg O’Connor

To Influence Rezoning, East Harlem Stakeholders Preempt City Plan With Own, by Maggie Calmes

Eyeing 100 Schools, Will Success Academy Expand to Staten Island? by Samar Khurshid

'New York Values' in Historical Perspective, by Bruce W. Dearstyne (opinion)

'Making A Murderer' Flaws All Around Us, by Christopher Beall (opinion)

Rebuilding NYCHA: A Fresh Look, by Nicholas D. Bloom (opinion)

Goodbye to ‘First Generation’ NYCHA, by Nicholas D. Bloom and Matthew G. Lasner (opinion)

Looks Matter, Especially in Public Housing, by Nicholas D. Bloom and Matthias Altwicker (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max and DNAinfo reporter Danielle Tcholakian discussed Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan on BRIC TV.

Council members Donovan Richards and David Greenfield spoke with NY1’s Grace Rauh about Mayor de Blasio’s city-wide rezoning plan.

Daily News reporter Greg Smith joined NY Slant’s Alexis Grenell and Nick Powell to discuss all sides of the affordable housing debate, and whether the de Blasio administration has assuaged concerns about gentrification.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito appeared on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the criminal justice reforms proposed in her State of the City address and potentially closing Rikers Island.

Mayor de Blasio spoke with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer about the proposed federal cuts to counter-terrorism funding for New York City, the pay hikes for elected officials, the debate between Apple and the FBI, 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, Feb. 15-19 Fri, 19 Feb 2016 17:20:17 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 8-12 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6167:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-8-12 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6167:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-8-12 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 12

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

bdb hope count

mmv sotc

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:
1. Housing Hearings: The City Council held two lengthy hearings this week examining critical components of Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability, which aim to adjust the city’s zoning codes and were approved by the City Planning Commission. At the hearings, Council members grilled de Blasio administration officials and expressed support for the goals of the plan, but made it clear they want to see more affordable units reserved for lower-income residents, and increased protections for workers who will build the new housing. [Read: At Hearings, City Council to Examine Mayor's Zoning Proposals]

2. “More Justice”: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito gave her second annual State of the City address on Thursday, titled “More Justice,” outlining a vast agenda centered on criminal justice reform, increasing civic engagement, empowering voters, and protecting immigrant communities, among others. Many proposals, including clearing old summons warrants and improving rehabilitation and reentry services, aim to minimize the number of people who end up in the city’s jail, in the hope that once the number of inmates on Rikers decreases, a plan for closing the notorious jail complex could be enacted. [Read: In State of the City, Mark-Viverito Outlines Civic Engagement, Voter Empowerment Plans & Mark-Viverito 'Doubles Down' on Criminal Justice Reform in State of the City]

3. Budget Analysis: Comptroller Scott Stringer released his analysis of Mayor de Blasio’s preliminary fiscal year 2017 budget on Wednesday, pointing out several areas of concern in an overall positive financial outlook for the city. Stringer said savings the Mayor has allocated are insufficient to prepare for an economic downturn and wants the city to implement a PEG requiring city agencies to identify a certain percentage of potential savings. [Read: Comptroller Raises Several Flags in Budget Analysis]

4. Renewed Homelessness Scrutiny: Following the fatal stabbing of a woman and two of her infant daughters Wednesday at a Ramada Inn on Staten Island, which was being used as a temporary homeless shelter, Mayor de Blasio announced plans to provide hotels used as temporary shelters with increased security. The incident comes less than two weeks after a mentally ill man slit another resident’s throat at a homeless shelter in Harlem, which also prompted promises of increased security at shelters. The State quickly responded to the Staten Island incident, instructing the City to increase security, which the City said it had already done.

5. Tax Plan: Assembly Democrats renewed support for their recently-unveiled plan to extend and expand a millionaire’s tax just one day after Governor Cuomo dismissed the plan, saying there was no “reason or appetite to take up taxes this year.” Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan reiterated his opposition to higher taxes on millionaires and said changes to the cap this year are unlikely, though Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has maintained his support for the plan. [Read: Heastie Takes to Twitter to Respond to Cuomo on Tax Plan]

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:

  • $10,000 fine for failing to safeguard crawler crane equipment, up from $4,800, following the fatal crane collapse in downtown Manhattan last Friday, the Times reports.
  • 3,500 volunteers canvassed New York City on Monday for the city’s annual HOPE count, a one-night count of all the homeless people living on the streets, the Associated Press reports - results will not be known for a few weeks.
  • 200 people signed up to testify at the City Council’s hearing on MIH on Tuesday, WNYC reports.
  • 41 hotels are being used as temporary homeless shelters to house more than 2,600 homeless adults and children across New York City, Politico reports.
  • 1.1 million summons warrants for offenses like being in the park after dark or having an open container of alcohol contribute to the city’s backlog of open arrest warrants, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 8% increase in state agency overtime pay, the Daily News reports.
  • 125 high schools will have student voter registration, up from 56, with increased funding from the City Council, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 46% increase over two years in the amount of money spent by the city on homeless services, up to $1.7 billion across three agencies, Gotham Gazette reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:
It was a good week for LGBT New Yorkers, advocates and allies, as Governor Cuomo announced a series of regulations Saturday that will prohibit health care insurers from covering "conversion therapy" in New York and stop mental health facilities from using the method on minors.  

It was a bad week for the NYPD, with officers facing two trials this week for the deaths of unarmed black men in two separate incidents, and a joint investigation by ProPublica and the Daily News into the NYPD’s use of the nuisance abatement law alleging the NYPD often uses the law to force people out of their homes. On Thursday, officer Peter Liang was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2014 shooting death of Akai Gurley, and on Wednesday, a federal grand jury began hearing evidence in the case of Eric Garner, who died after a Staten Island police officer put Garner in a chokehold.

And, it was a bad week for Success Academy Charter Schools, after a video published by the New York Times shows a Success Academy teacher belittling a student for failing to answer a question correctly. The accompanying Times story shares similar stories from current and former employees, prompting renewed scrutiny for the charter school network.

THE FLASH:
Around this time 100 years ago, on February 11, 1916, Emma Goldman was arrested in New York City just before giving a lecture on family planning, which was considered illegal under the 1873 Comstock Act that banned “obscene” literature, including information about contraception.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
Comptroller Raises Several Flags in Budget Analysis, by Ben Max

Everyone's Talking About Paid Family Leave, Only Compromise Will Yield a Deal, by David Howard King

In State of the City, Mark-Viverito Outlines Civic Engagement, Voter Empowerment Plans, by Samar Khurshid

Mark-Viverito 'Doubles Down' on Criminal Justice Reform in State of the City, by Meg O’Connor

Assembly Reform Group Nears Release of 49-Recommendation Report, by David Howard King

Heastie Takes to Twitter to Respond to Cuomo on Tax Plan, by David Howard King

In Albany, Bharara Challenges Lawmakers to Act, Not Enable, by David Howard King

Bharara Visits Capital He Upended, by David Howard King

After New Hampshire: Debates & Voting Dates Until New York, by Ben Max

Next Steps the State Must Make to Create and Maintain Affordable Housing, by Nicole Bramstedt (opinion)

Real Affordable Housing for Our Communities, by Susana Salas (opinion)

Time for NYCHA to Stop Wasting Our Money, by Brian Sampson (opinion)

Get the Facts Straight on NYCHA Attacks, by Michael Kelly (opinion)

The 10 Concerns Council Members Had About Mayor’s Inclusionary Housing Proposal, by Jarrett Murphy (City Limits)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:
Gotham Gazette’s executive editor Ben Max and City Limit’s executive editor Jarrett Murphy discuss key takeaways after two days of marathon City Council hearings on Mayor de Blasio’s citywide zoning proposals.

In a rare visit to Albany on Monday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara spoke to the need for honest politicians and others in state government to call out corruption when they see it in an interview with WAMC co-sponsored by Citizens Union and other good government groups.

Mayor de Blasio spoke with Errol Louis on NY1 and defended the new Police Department training course, “implicit bias” training, designed to combat officers’ prejudices, and also defended MIH and ZQA.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito appeared on NY1 to discuss her State of the City address.

Errol Louis discussed the 40th anniversary of City Limits magazine with Jarrett Murphy, executive editor and publisher of City Limits, and two contributors, Brooke Williams and Tom Robbins on NY1. 

***
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

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 8-12 Fri, 12 Feb 2016 17:39:16 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 1-5 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6149:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-1-5 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6149:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-feb-1-5 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 5, 2016

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: In Iowa, Mayor de Blasio makes calls on behalf of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, via @Chirlane; De Blasio delivers his State of the City address, via Michael Appleton, Mayor's Office; De Blasio tours the downtown Manhattan site of a crane collapse, via Ed Reed, Mayor's Office.

bdb calls iowa

bdb state of the city

bdb crane collapse

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. State of the City: Mayor de Blasio emphasized building strong neighborhoods and city management during his third State of the City address on Thursday, and focused on acknowledging the work of everyday New Yorkers and the city’s uniformed workforce, and improving conditions across the five boroughs. New initiatives highlighted during the speech include a streetcar running along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, development on Governor’s Island, a new private sector employee retirement fund, and a $91 million investment to revitalize Far Rockaway. [Read: De Blasio Stresses Neighborhood Health in 'One City' Vision & Muslim Immigrant Family of NYPD Captain to Lead Pledge of Allegiance at State of the City]

2. Council Votes on Raises, Reforms: On Friday, the City Council approved a package of legislation to raise the salaries of all the the city’s elected officials and reform how Council members are compensated. The reforms, including eliminating stipends for chairing committees and making the position full time, have been praised, yet the higher than recommended salary increase the Council is seeking and the timing of the vote have been criticized. [Read: Questions Remain as City Council Moves Ahead with Pay Raises, Reforms]

3. Critical Time for Housing Plan: On Wednesday, the City Planning Commission passed two major components of Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan, sending them to the City Council, which will hold two hearings on the proposals next week. The two proposals - Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability - have received mixed reactions and aim to adjust the city’s zoning codes to allow what the administration says will be more responsible development. At the same time on the state level, calls for Governor Cuomo to move on new program to incentivize affordable housing production continue. [Read: Planning Commission Sends Mayor's Zoning Proposals to City Council & Calls for Public Discussion of New Affordable Housing Incentive Program]

4. Horse Carriage Deal Collapses: Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plan to shrink the horse carriage industry collapsed after facing intense criticism from several sides, including the horse-carriage drivers, pedicab drivers, park advocates, Council members, union leaders, animal-rights activists, and more. After the Teamsters union withdrew its support for the deal, the City Council cancelled its scheduled vote on the plan.

5. Subway Slashings: In the wake of several separate slashings in the subways in January, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Wednesday that the NYPD will now wake up sleeping straphangers. Transit crime was up 36 percent in January, according to Bratton. Speaking on Hot 97 radio, Mayor de Blasio said there is no pattern to the random attacks and pointed to an overall downward trend in crime.

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:
$148,500 is the new salary for City Council members, up from $112,500, and $10,185 higher than the $138,315 salary a commission tasked with reviewing the compensation levels of elected officials recommended, Gotham Gazette reports. (The salaries of the Mayor, Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough Presidents, and District Attorneys will all increase too)

21,401 open code violations at homeless shelters around the city at the end of 2015, an overdue report released by Mayor de Blasio shows.

6.4% increase in the number of jobs in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx from the end of 2013 through the middle of 2015, the Daily News reports.

$91 million will be invested to revitalize Far Rockaway, DNAinfo reports.

$2.5 billion is the estimated pricetag for a new streetcar that will run between Brooklyn and Queens along the East River, the Times reports.

89% of New Yorkers say corruption in the state government in Albany is a serious problem, according to the a Siena poll.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:
It was a good week for New York City’s elected officials, all of whom will receive at least a 12 percent salary increase after the City Council approves a package of legislation Friday that will enact the raises (although Mayor de Blasio will not accept a raise for the duration of his term).

It was a bad week for City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who has been widely criticized after he called the $36,000 raise he and other Council members are about to get a “big compromise,” and insisted that they “deserved” to make $175,000. Rodriguez was also the sponsor of the horse carriage bill, which fell apart this week and has also been the source of much controversy.

THE FLASH:
Around this time 103 years ago, on February 2, 1913, about 150,000 people visited Grand Central Terminal for its opening day. Now, about 750,000 people visit Grand Central every day for travel, dining or shopping.

Around this time 4 years ago, on February 2, 2012, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was shot and killed by police officers in the bathroom of the apartment Graham lived in with his family. The officers followed Graham into his home from a bodega after they thought they saw Graham with a gun. No gun was found, and the officer who shot Graham had the manslaughter charges against him dropped. On the anniversary of Graham’s death, his parents delivered a letter to City Hall officials urging Mayor de Blasio to fire the NYPD officer who shot Graham.

Around this time 52 years ago, on February 3, 1964, 460,000 students refused to go to school in order to protest the segregation of New York City’s schools. Students gathered and chanted “Jim Crow must go!” in front of the Board of Education building, calling for immediate action to be taken to desegregate the schools.

Around this time 17 years ago, on February 4, 1999, West African immigrant Amadou Diallo was killed by police officers in the entrance of his Bronx apartment building after the officers mistakenly believed Diallo was the serial rapist they were searching for, and that he was reaching for a gun. Diallo, 23, had no gun and was in fact reaching for his wallet when four NYPD officers fired 41 shots, hitting him 19 times. His death sparked demonstrations against racial profiling and unfair treatment by the police. The four officers involved were eventually acquitted of all charges.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

De Blasio Stresses Neighborhood Health in 'One City' Vision, by Ben Max

Planning Commission Sends Mayor's Zoning Proposals to City Council, by Maggie Calmes

Calls for Public Discussion of New Affordable Housing Incentive Program, by David Howard King

After Iowa: Debates & Voting Dates Until New York, by Ben Max

Muslim Immigrant Family of NYPD Captain to Lead Pledge of Allegiance at State of the City, by Samar Khurshid

Questions Remain as City Council Moves Ahead with Pay Raises, Reforms, by Meg O'Connor

Planning Commission Vote Will Send Zoning Proposals to City Council, Ben Max

As Council Begins Oversight, McCray Reports Progress in Mental Health Roadmap Implementation, by Meg O'Connor

What To Do When the L Train Closes, by Alex Armlovich (opinion)

As Federal Aid System Advances, Our Outdated Way Leaves New York Students Behind, by Sue Mead and Kevin Stump (opinion)

The City's Next Steps to Ensure Vibrant, Creative Communities, by Adam Forman (opinion)

A Good Deal for Horses, by Allie Feldman (opinion)

Reducing Organic Waste Without Increasing Costs, by Carol Kellermann (opinion)

To Eradicate Sex Trafficking, Prosecute the Pimps and Buyers, by Lauren Hersh (opinion)

Four Decades of Dedication: City Limits’ Story, by Jarrett Murphy ( City Limits)

Homeless Young Adults Can Fall through a Crack in Shelter System, by Genia Gould (City Limits)

40 Stories, 40 Years: City Limits and the History of Today's New York City, by Jarrett Murphy (City Limits)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:
Council Member Brad Lander spoke with Errol Louis on NY1 to explain raising Council members' salaries and to discuss the controversy surrounding it.

Dick Dadey, executive director of the government watchdog group Citizens Union, spoke with Brian Lehrer on WNYC about the package of legislation the City Council voted on Friday that will raise the salaries of all of New York City’s elected officials for the first time since 2006, as well as the controversy surrounding the larger-than-recommended salary increase for Council members and the timing of the vote.

Mayor de Blasio appeared on Hot 97 radio to talk about the presidential race, violence in the subway, the newly announced streetcar line that will run between Brooklyn and Queens, running for re-election, and legalizing marijuana.

Current and former New York Daily News columnists Harry Siegel and Bill Hammond joined Alexis Grenell and Nick Powell on the NYSlant podcast to discuss JCOPE’s controversial lobbying decision, and the equally controversial pay raise proposals from the City Council.

***
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

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 1-5 Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:37:57 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 25-29 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6125:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-25-29 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6125:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-25-29 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday January 29

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio and others during last weekend's blizzard, via The Mayor's Office on flickr; De Blasio testifies in Albany, also via The Mayor's Office;

de blasio blizzard others

bdb testifying albany clock

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:
1. De Blasio in Albany:
Mayor de Blasio was in Albany on Tuesday to testify before the state legislature on Governor Cuomo’s proposed state budget and to lay out New York City’s financial priorities. Yet the mayor wasn’t able to focus much of his nearly five-hour testimony on issues with the governor’s budget proposals or affordable housing, mayoral control of schools, or other issues important to him, and instead was left to defend the city’s spending, tax policies, and his refusal to agree to a property tax cap. [Read: De Blasio Heads to Albany to Fund Agenda, Fight Cuts & In Albany, State Senators Ambush De Blasio on Property Tax Reform]

2. Pay Raise and Reforms for City Council: On Wednesday, February 3, the City Council will hold a hearing on legislation outlining salary increases for all of the city’s elected officials, as well as several good government reforms related to how Council members operate and are compensated. Details of the package were announced late Thursday evening, and the Council intends to raise their salary even higher than the commission tasked with reviewing the compensation levels of electeds recommended. [Read: City Council Announces Bill to Increase Pay, Reform Position]

3. Education Testimony: Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the case for long-term extension of mayoral control of schools once again as she testified before state lawmakers on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia testified for a streamlined statewide pre-k program, professional development, and full and fair funding of public schools, reminded lawmakers that Governor Cuomo’s budget is $1.4 billion short of what the Board of Regents requested, and said that this year’s state standardized tests for 3-8 graders will not be timed.

4. Council Considers Decriminalization: A package of bills was introduced in the City Council on Monday which would change the way the city deals with low-level, quality-of-life offenses, such a public urination and littering. The move would encourage civil penalties, rather than arrests or criminal summonses for certain low-level, nonviolent offenses.

5. Snow Storm Scrutiny: Blizzard Jonas dumped 26.8 inches of snow in New York City over the weekend, leading Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo to declare a state of emergency and (separately) impose travel bans during the worst hours of the storm. De Blasio’s handling of the storm was generally met with praise, though some Queens residents and elected officials criticized the city for under-plowing streets in certain areas of the borough.

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:
26.8 inches of snow fell in Central Park during snowstorm Jonas, making it the biggest storm since 1869, the New York Times reports.

32% salary increase for Council members, up to $148,500 from 112,500, outlined in legislation announced by the Council Thursday evening, Gotham Gazette reports.

4 days will be spent campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Iowa by Mayor de Blasio this weekend, the Daily News reports.

6 minutes after a neighbor called 911, Officer Liang radioed for help following the shooting of Akai Gurley in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project, the New York Times reports.

8.875% sales tax on feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads could be scrapped, as the City Council will soon pass a resolution calling on the state to pass a bill introduced in the Assembly to eliminate the so-called ‘tampon tax,’ Gotham Gazette reports

95 ethnic newspapers in New York have a combined circulation of about 2.9 million people, more than one-third of the city’s population, yet little of the city’s advertising budget goes to ethnic media, Gotham Gazette reports.

200-plus educators received erroneous scores from New York State on a measurement that ties how well their students do on tests to their performances, the New York Times reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:
It was a good week for
new State Senate Finance Committee Chair Sen. Catharine Young, who is providing over legislative budget hearings and led an especially tough grilling of Mayor de Blasio.

It was a bad week for City Council members, who are facing criticism for both the size of the raises and the timing of the vote on the legislation that will give them that raise, with some saying it seems Council members have agreed to back de Blasio’s controversial plan to limit the horse-carriage industry in exchange for his approval of their larger raises.

THE FLASH:
Around this time 41 years ago
, on January 24, 1975, four people were killed when a bomb exploded outside historic Fraunces Tavern in downtown Manhattan.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK
City Council Announces Bill to Increase Pay, Reform Position, by Ben Max

City Council Members Move to Improve Tampon Access, by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

Just Ahead of Oversight Hearing, City Announces Ethnic Media Plan, by Samar Khurshid

Council to Examine City Support for Ethnic Media, by Samar Khurshid

In Albany, State Senators Ambush De Blasio on Property Tax Reform, by David Howard King

De Blasio Heads to Albany to Fund Agenda, Fight Cuts, by Ben Max

Green Jobs Gone Missing, by Jarrett Murphy (City Limits)

The Numbers on NYC's Property Tax Non-Problem, by Jarrett Murphy (City Limits)

Time to Support New York Students with Billions Still Owed from Campaign for Fiscal Equity, by Council Member Daniel Dromm (opinion)

Criminal Justice Reform Act is No Alternative to Broken Windows Policing, by Alex S. Vitale (opinion)

Common Core Mistakes Worth Not Repeating, by Stephen Sigmund and Denise Toscano (opinion)

Give New York Manufacturers the Space They Need, by Matthew Rigney (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:
Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max appeared on Inside City Hall along with Politico New York’s Gloria Pazmino, DNA Info’s Jeff Mays, and Ginia Bellafante from the New York Times to speak with Errol Louis about the horse-carriage deal and the mayor’s preliminary budget.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito appeared on WNYC on Thursday to speak with Brian Lehrer about the proposed Criminal Justice Reform Act, which will encourage officers to issue civil offenses, rather than criminal offenses, for some low-level quality-of-life violations.

Mayor de Blasio spoke with Brian Lehrer on WNYC Friday about his plans to campaign for Hillary Clinton over the weekend, housing plans, pedicab drivers, crime, and the Council’s legislation to reform their position and raise the salaries of all of New York City’s elected officials.

Chair of the Committee on Public Safety Vanessa Gibson and chair of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services Rory Lancman joined Errol Louis on Inside City Hall to discuss reforms being in considered in the Council to change the way low-level offenses are handled by the NYPD. 

***
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, Jan. 25-29 Fri, 29 Jan 2016 19:21:05 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 18-22 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6109:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-18-22 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6109:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-18-22 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday January 22

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: City Council Members and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, via @ydanis; City Council Member Donovan Richards, Gov. Cuomo, Bronx BP Diaz Jr., via @drichards13

cms schneiderman peace

richards diaz jr cuomo rebny

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:
1. $82 Billion Budget: On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio unveiled his $82.1 billion preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017, which begins July 1. De Blasio didn’t outline any major new initiatives, but rather stressed fiscal responsibility, building reserves, and warned of possible trouble ahead, citing concerns over the stock market and the possibility of losing state aid. The budget includes over $740 million in new agency spending, mostly for programs de Blasio previously announced, like plans to address the homelessness crisis. [Read: De Blasio Releases Cautious $82 Billion Preliminary Budget & What to Watch for as City Budget Season Begins]

2. 421-A: Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio seem to have found something they agree upon after stakeholders failed to reach a deal necessary to renew the 421-a tax abatement program, which incentivizes affordable housing development. After 421-a expired last Friday, Mayor de Blasio said he is “deeply disappointed” and intends to push the issue in Albany this session. Cuomo has also expressed disappointment over the expiration and agrees that it was critical to the city’s affordable housing plan, though many blame Cuomo for its end. [Read: De Blasio Calls for Albany to 'Make Right' on Program at Center of Rift with Governor]

3. Grocery Worker Retention Act: On Tuesday, the City Council passed the Grocery Worker Retention Act, which requires new owners of large grocery stores to retain the workforce that existed under the store’s previous ownership for 90 days. The bill, which passed 40-7, sparked a rare level of dissent on the City Council floor, with several Council members explaining their opposition to the bill during the vote. [Read: Grocery Worker Bill Provokes Rare Level of Council Dissent]

4. Horse-Carriage Controversy: On Sunday, the Mayor and the City Council Speaker announced an agreement with Central Park horse-carriage drivers to reduce the number of horses and restrict them to Central Park, where they will eventually be housed in stables created by the city. Yet the plan has been met with widespread criticism, with pedicab drivers (whose area of operation would be restricted under the deal) protesting outside City Hall, carriage drivers vowing to fight the plan, and park advocates criticizing the use of park land to build stables for a private industry. The City Council held a lengthy and contentious hearing on the new plan on Friday, with even the carriage drivers now saying they are unhappy with the deal as written - its future is unclear.

5. Cuomo’s Ethics Package: In Albany on Tuesday, leaders from three good government groups (Citizens Union, New York Public Interest Research Group, and Common Cause) gave their evaluation of ethics proposals Governor Cuomo included in his State of the State and budget address last week. They called for follow through and pushed the governor to add budget transparency to the list. [Read: Good Government Groups Rate Cuomo's Ethics Package]

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:
$82.1 billion preliminary budget unveiled by Mayor de Blasio on Thursday, Gotham Gazette reports.

231 people killed in traffic crashes in 2015, down from 257 in 2014, DNAinfo reports.

95 horses will remain in Central Park under the much-debated deal between the city and the carriage-drivers union, down from about 220, the New York Times reports.

$176 million in federal funding will be given to New York City to build a new flood protection system around lower Manhattan, the New York Times reports.

$79,223 yearly pension is still being collected by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, despite being convicted on federal corruption charges last November, the state comptroller's office confirmed Wednesday.

$5 million has been given to Governor Cuomo from contributors over the past six months, all while he continues to call for closing the “LLC loophole,” the Times Union reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:
It was a good week for Westchester County district attorney Janet DiFiore, who was unanimously confirmed as the new chief judge of the state Court of Appeals this week.

It was a bad week for Success Academy Charter Schools leader Eva Moskowitz, as the parents of 13 children have filed a lawsuit against the city’s largest charter school network, claiming Success Academy discriminated against students with disabilities and pushed some students out of the schools. it is the 22nd lawsuit filed against Success Academies, Moskowitz said Friday morning during a speech.

THE FLASH:
Around this time 232 years ago, on January 21, 1784, the state legislature met for the first time at City Hall. New York City remained the state capital until 1796, when Albany was chosen as the new capital.

Around this time 108 years ago, on January 21, 1908, New York City passed the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public places. One woman spent a day in jail for breaking the law after refusing to pay the fine. Two weeks later, Mayor George McClellan Jr. vetoed the measure.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

'Dangerousness' Aspect of Cuomo's Bail Plan Troubles Reformers, by David Howard King

De Blasio Releases Cautious $82 Billion Preliminary Budget, by Ben Max

Once Rife with Problems, City Budget Process Now a Model for State System in Need of Reform, by David Howard King

De Blasio Calls for Albany to 'Make Right' on Program at Center of Rift with Governor, by Ben Max

Concerns of ‘Voter Fatigue’ as New York Schedules Four 2016 Election Days, by Meg O’Connor

Grocery Worker Bill Provokes Rare Level of Council Dissent, by Ben Max

Good Government Groups Rate Cuomo's Ethics Package, by David Howard King

What to Watch for as City Budget Season Begins, by Samar Khurshid

Overdue DOE Capital Plan To Be Released, by Samar Khurshid

Cuomo’s Preparatory Commission Should Prioritize Fixing ConCon Process, by J.H. Snider (opinion)

New York's Education Policy in Historic Disarray, by Bruce W. Deartsyne (opinion)

The Wisdom of Primaries, by Theodore Hamm (opinion)

DOE Language Access Expansion Builds Bridges to City Families, by Steven Choi (opinion)

Move Martin Luther King Day to November, by John Martin (opinion)

Stand Against Racism, Protect Asian-American Women's Health, by Margaret Chin and Miriam Yeung (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:
On the anniversary of Citizens United, Senator Liz Krueger and Anthony Cresswell, an organizer with the New York for Democracy Coalition, appeared on the Capitol Pressroom on WCNY to make the case for a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United and related cases.

Continuing the conversation on the rising number of reported rapes in New York City and what the city can do to prevent sexual assault, Kathleen Basile of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC to discuss the “buddy system” and other, more effective methods of assault prevention.

First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris and City Budget Director Dean Fuleihan spoke about Mayor de Blasio’s $82.1 billion budget proposal with Errol Louis on NY1’s Inside City Hall.

***
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, Jan. 18-22 Fri, 22 Jan 2016 19:15:07 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 11-15 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6093:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-11-15 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6093:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-11-15 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday January 15

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Governor Cuomo gives his State of the State address, via the governor's office

andrew cuomo mario cuomo

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. State of the State: Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his combined State of the State and budget address on Wednesday. The plan has major infrastructure components to it as well as efforts to achieve social and economic justice, as the governor put it. Some of Cuomo’s 2016 “Built to Lead” agenda will place new financial strains on New York City, as the plan would end the state’s payment of some of the city’s Medicaid costs and change how CUNY is funded. Those changes and others are expected by some experts to cost the city $1 billion starting in the next fiscal year. In response, Mayor de Blasio has called the budget proposal “debilitating,” and said he would use “any means necessary” to restore the millions in state financing. Cuomo appeared to strike a conciliatory tone on Thursday, saying the city and state would work together to find Medicaid and CUNY efficiencies. [Read: Cuomo Outlines $144 Billion Budget & Cuomo Unveils Ethics Plan to Questions Of Follow Through]

2. Cuomo Cleared: On Monday, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced there was not enough evidence to prove a federal crime in the investigation into Governor Cuomo’s interference with and closure of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

3. Gun Courts: On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio announced “Project Fast Track,” which aims to reduce gun violence in New York City through the creation of a new Gun Violence Suppression Division in the NYPD and by designating judges to fast-track illegal gun cases and resolve the cases within six months. [Read: City to Open Gun Courts to Expedite Prosecutions]

4. Spotlight on Sexual Assault: The alleged gang-rape in a Brownsville playground last Thursday, the rise in the number of reported rapes in 2015, and NYPD Commissioner Bratton’s suggestion that women going home late at night use the “buddy system” have led sexual assault to become the focus of public discussion this week. On Monday, lawmakers and advocates rallied outside City Hall to call for more legislation and resources to protect women from sexual assault. [Read: To Combat Increase in Reported Rapes, Experts Point to Prevention & Sexual Assault Becomes Focus of Public Discussion]

5. 421-a, Uber, Carriage Horses: Negotiations between construction unions and real estate developers to extend the controversial 421-a development tax break are at a standstill, with both sides certain they will not reach an agreement by the Friday deadline to renew the program. Meanwhile, the city releases its long-awaited study of the for-hire vehicle industry, leading to little other than acknowledgement that the city is unlikely to pursue a cap to Uber’s growth. And, a deal on reducing horse carriages appeals imminent. [Read: Negotiations to Extend Important Affordable Housing Tax Break Said to Reach Impasse]

THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS:

  • $145 billion budget was laid out by Governor Cuomo during his annual state of the state and budget address.
  • $20 billion commitment to combat homelessness was announced by Governor Cuomo during the address, with $10 billion earmarked for 100,000 permanent affordable housing units and $10 billion for 6,000 new supported beds over 5 years, 1,000 emergency shelter beds, and other services, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • $1 billion is about how much experts estimate the changes in funding to CUNY and state payment of Medicaid costs will cost New York City starting in the next fiscal year, Capital New York reports.
  • 78.1% of public school students in New York graduated on time last june, up from 76.4% the previous year, marking an increase for the third year in a row, Gannett Albany reports. Meanwhile, the graduation rate in New York City crept above 70% for the first time.
  • 1,439 rapes reported in 2015, up 6.3% from 1,354 in 2014, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 1.4 million New Yorkers - 16.5% of the population - are food insecure, Gotham Gazette reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

It was a good week for Governor Andrew Cuomo, after he was cleared by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office in the investigation into his interference with the shutdown of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

It was a bad week for Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who came under fire for suggesting women should use the “buddy system” when coming home late at night to avoid becoming the victim of sexual assault. The NYPD has also been criticized this week for not notifying the public of the alleged gang rape in a Brownsville playground sooner.

THE FLASH:

Around this time 27 years ago, on January 13, 1989, subway gunman Bernhard Goetz was sentenced to a year in prison for possessing an unlicensed gun which he used to shoot four people he said were going to rob him.

Around this time 116 years ago, on January 10, 1900, bids went out for the construction of an underground railroad line running between City Hall and the Bronx. The city’s first subway opened four years later.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

Special Election Spotlights Machine Politics in The Bronx, by Gabe Ponce de León

To Combat Increase in Reported Rapes, Experts Point to Prevention, by Meg O'Connor

Cuomo Outlines $144 Billion Budget, by David Howard King

Cuomo Unveils Ethics Plan to Questions of Follow Through, by David Howard King

At Hearing on Hunger, Council Presses De Blasio Administration on SNAP Participation, by Ryan Brady

New Data Indicates IDNYC Popularity Among Immigrants, by Samar Khurshid

Cuomo Heads Into State of the State After Big Announcements, With More to Say, by Ben Max

Assembly Democrats Reject Republican Rules Changes, Promise Own Proposals Soon, by David Howard King

Council to Assess Hunger Problem, City Efforts to Reduce It, by Ryan Brady

New York One Signature Away from Calling for Overturn of Citizens United, by Samar Khurshid

Sexual Assault Becomes Focus of Public Discussion, by Ben Max

To Meet Staten Island Needs, Borough President Focuses on Beating Bureaucracy, by Meg O'Connor

Don't Be Seduced By Sexy Transportation Projects, by Philip M. Plotch and Nicholas D. Bloom (opinion)

A Case for None-Time-Limited Supportive Housing for Young Adults, by Colleen Jackson (opinion)

More Cities Should Do What States and Federal Government Aren't on Minimum Wage, by JoEllen Chernow (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

Governor Andrew Cuomo sat down with NY1's Errol Louis for an interview Wednesday after laying out his vision for the year in his State of the State address.

Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks discussed the ways the de Blasio administration is dealing with the homelessness crisis and the governor’s plans to audit the city’s shelter system with Errol Louis NY1.

Mary Brosnahan, executive director of Coalition for the Homeless, talks about the new proposals for addressing New York City's homeless population on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC.

***
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

 

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 11-15 Fri, 15 Jan 2016 19:44:06 +0000
The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 4-8 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6075:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-4-8 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6075:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-jan-4-8 week in review bus readers

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


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday January 8

IMAGE OF THE WEEK: Penn Station rendering, via Governor Cuomo's office on flickr; Mayor de Blasio's signs paid parental leave personnel order for nonunion city employees, via Ed Reed for the Mayor's Office

Penn Station rendering via gov

bdb paid parental leave

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. New Deputy Mayor: On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Dr. Herminia Palacio will take over as Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, filling a position that had been vacant for four months. Homelessness is an especially key issue for Mayor de Blasio and his administration, as they work to remedy an increasing homelessness crisis.

2. Cuomo’s Executive Order: Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on Sunday requiring all homeless people on the streets be moved into shelters when temperatures fall below freezing, and ordering homeless shelters to extend their hours. The move has been met with some criticism, in part because the city already provides much of the same protections to homeless people. [Read: Something Cuomo & De Blasio Agree On: City Shelters Need Improvement]

3. Cuomo’s 2016 Agenda: Speaking on NY1, Gov. Cuomo said ethics reform will be on the top of his agenda: “I’m going to push the legislature very hard to adopt more aggressive ethics legislation, more disclosure, more enforcement.” Cuomo also mentioned economic development and “social justice,” namely the “high unemployment among young minority males,” as being important to him, and has also called to overhaul Penn Station in an upgrade that could cost about $3 billion. The governor has spent the week unveiling key pieces of his agenda, including several infrastructure-related plans. [Read: Corruption, Elections Loom Over Lengthy 2016 Legislative Agenda & Predictions! Experts Look Ahead to New York Politics in 2016]

4. Minimum Wage Hikes: Mayor de Blasio announced Wednesday that city employees, including workers contacted through nonprofits, will see their minimum wage increased to $15 an hour by 2018 in a move that will impact an estimated 50,000 workers. Governor Cuomo is expected to make a statewide $15 minimum wage one of the focuses of his State of the State speech next week.

5. Paid Parental Leave Born: On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio signed a personnel order to provide paid parental leave to roughly 20,000 New York City employees. The order provides six weeks of paid time off for parental leave. [Read: De Blasio Moves on Paid Parental Leave]

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:
$3 billion is the price tag for Gov. Cuomo’s push to remake Penn station, the Wall Street Journal reports.

22% decrease in traffic deaths since Mayor de Blasio launched Vision Zero, the New York Post reports.

1.7% overall decrease in major crime in New York City in 2015, according to statistics released by the NYPD, though certain categories were up, including murder.

50,000 city workers will earn $15 per hour by the end of 2018 under pay raises announced by Mayor de Blasio on Wednesday.

20,000 nonunion municipal employees will be allowed up to 6 weeks of paid parental leave thanks to a new measure signed by Mayor de Blasio, Gotham Gazette reports.

450,000 New Yorkers, give or take, will be able to save upwards of $400 a year on their public transportation expenses now that a new Commuter Benefits Law has gone into effect, Gotham Gazette reports.

26 City Council members signed a letter asking Mayor de Blasio to have his agencies find ways to reduce spending by about 5% before he release his next preliminary budget, Gotham Gazette reports.

129 bills vetoed by Cuomo in 2015, according to Politico New York

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:
It was a good week for Herminia Palacio, who became the new Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (though it is also tough for Palacio in that she is taking one of the most challenging jobs in city government).

It was a bad week for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will pay a $7,000 fine for accepting gifts from a consulting firm during her run for speaker (though it is also good for Mark-Viverito that the issue is being put behind her).

THE FLASH:
Around this time 146 years ago, on January 3, 1870, ground was broken for the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Around this time 50 years ago, on January 4, 1966, during the longest transit strike in New York history (which shut down subways and buses for 12 days), Mike Quill, then-president of the transport workers union, criticized city officials during a press conference broadcast by WNYC. He was arrested days later.

Around this time 69 years ago, on January 6, 1947, the Supreme Court upheld rent controls when they refused to hear a case by New York landlords who wished to raise rents.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:
Gotham Gazette Executive Editor Ben Max appeared on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show on Wednesday to discuss the year ahead in New York politics.

40 Questions for New York Politics in 2016, by Ben Max

Corruption, Elections Loom Over Lengthy 2016 Legislative Agenda, by David Howard King

Good Government Groups Want Legislators to Pledge to Fight for Reform, by David Howard King

Majority of Council Members Urge Mayor to Identify Budget Savings, Samar Khurshid

City to Open Gun Courts to Expedite Prosecutions, by Meg O’Connor

Proposed Zoning Changes Raise Questions About Small Businesses, by Colin O’Connor

Something Cuomo & De Blasio Agree On: City Shelters Need Improvement, by Ben Max

Eyeing Diversity, New Push for Demographic Data on Community Board Members, by Samar Khurshid

Bill Mandates Review of Criminal Justice Programs, by Samar Khurshid

At Homelessness Forum, Manhattanites Voice Local Concerns on Pressing Issue, by Ryan Brady

Time for the Mayor and the Governor to Work Together, by Ben Max (opinion)

More Evidence Punitive NYPD Youth Programs Fail, by Alex S. Vitale (opinion)

Paid Family Leave in NYC: Progressive Policy, Regressive Plan, by Arthur Cheliotes (opinion)

To Fix Penn Station, Think Smaller, by Adrian Untermyer (opinion)

A New York New Year's Resolution: End the AIDS Epidemic, by Doug Wirth (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spoke about the city’s falling crime rates and new gun courts initiative with Brian Lehrer on WNYC.

Incoming Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Herminia Palacio, discussed her new role at City Hall with Errol Louis on Inside City Hall.

***
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

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Jan. 4-8 Fri, 08 Jan 2016 17:08:56 +0000