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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
 

Transparency

Transparency

  • sengianaris press

    Senator Gianaris (photo: @sengianaris)


    New Yorkers may soon have a new tool to influence their government. A bill in the state Legislature would allow members of the public, given enough support, to compel state agencies to hold public hearings on proposed rules.

    The bill (S2397), sponsored in the state Senate by Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, would establish a three-year pilot program ordering seven regulatory agencies — the Workers' Compensation Board and the Departments of Education, Environmental Conservation, Health, Financial Services, Labor, and Family Assistance

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  • govcuomo speakerheastie

    Speaker Heastie, left, and Governor Cuomo (photo via the Governor's Office)


    Amid open conflict with Governor Andrew Cuomo, a second-term Democrat, the Republican-controlled state Senate recently passed a package of bills aimed at shedding light on taxpayer-funded economic development projects, among other reform measures. The move helped reignite attention on the legislation and put pressure on the Democrat-led Assembly to pass bills it has previously supported.

    The legislation includes the Procurement Integrity Act, which would restore

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  • City Council Cabrera Vallone

    CMs Cabrera, left, and Vallone (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    How does the New York City Council check city government agencies without legislating agency operations, which it sometimes does not have the power to do? Reporting bills.

    The Council often passes legislation that requires an agency under the direction of the mayor to produce a report, like Local Law 47, which compels the NYPD to compile data on subway fare-beating arrests. This bill, and the NYPD’s response, quickly became another flash point in tensions between city agencies and the

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  • andrew cuomo buffalo

    Gov. Cuomo in Buffalo (photo via The Governor's Office)


    New York State and local governments spend over $8 billion annually in taxpayer money, giving subsidies to businesses through tax abatements and credits, low or no interest loans, grants, and capital investments like building factories. Eight billion dollars could otherwise pay for the MTA Subway Action Plan in addition to the entire 5-year capital plan for New York City Housing Authority

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  • de Blasio public hearing City Council bills

    De Blasio at a public hearing (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Four government transparency bills that were passed by the City Council on October 31 aged into law on Friday, having gone 30 days without any action in favor or against them by Mayor Bill de Blasio. The bills all relate to increased disclosure by the administration of billions in city government spending and have been praised by good government advocates.

    Among the bills was one that ...

  • Mayor de Blasio Chirlane McCray City Hall Reelection Parade

    Mayor Bill de Blasio & First Lady Chirlane McCray (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio, a first-term Democrat, seeks reelection this fall, a close examination of his record is essential. De Blasio came into power promising to address inequlality in a variety of forms, including income, educational, policing, racial, and opportunity inequities he identified during his 2013 campaign. In this year's election de Blasio is running in part on his record, which is headlined by the

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  • Carl Heastie Assembly

    Carl Heastie (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    When ethics expert Jane Feldman’s departure from the New York State Assembly, and her appraisal of the experience as “as waste of money,” was first reported by the Times Union last week, many saw it as another blow to reform efforts in Albany.

    Feldman ...

  • Mayor de Blasio City Hall

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    This article is part of a series on Mayor de Blasio's first term record as he seeks reelection this fall, in partnership with WNYC radio and City Limits. Find all pieces of the series here.

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  • new queens democrats

    The New Queens Democrats recently formed (photo via NQD on Facebook)


    When Sahand Shahrabani moved to Forest Hills, Queens in 2013, the recent college graduate had one goal: to get involved in local politics. But a Google search turned up eerily sparse results for Democratic clubs in the borough and no trace of the Queens County Democratic Party.

    “They don't have Facebook and there’s no website. I was definitely surprised and disappointed by the lack of web presence,” said Shahrabani, now 29.

    During the 2016 presidential race,

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  • Gotham Gazette: Mayor

    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD leaders (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Asked about the cost to taxpayers for his recent trip to Germany, Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated at a press conference Wednesday that expenses for himself and three aides were paid for by the organizers of a protest rally the mayor was asked to headline. As for his NYPD security detail, which did come at taxpayer expense, the mayor said, “The NYPD always provides some kind of estimate so please ask them for that.”

    But, news outlets had already been asking the NYPD for that cost estimate

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  • Adam Andrzejewski

    Adam Andrzejewski (photo: The Manhattan Institute)


    Illinois-based businessman and one-time candidate for Governor of that state, Adam Andrzejewski, boasts of running the “world’s largest private repository of public spending” with 3.5 billion individually captured government expenditures. Andrzejewski is the CEO and founder of OpenTheBooks.com, an online transparency tool launched by his nonpartisan, nonprofit group, aptly named American Transparency, with the stated goals of reducing waste in government

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  • scott stringer

    Comptroller Scott Stringer, the author


    Discoveries of "Super Earths." Contact lenses with data displays and video cameras. Earpieces that translate different languages in real-time. We are truly in the great age of technology and innovation. Knowledge, access, and new tools are helping us break barriers like never before in human history.

    So why, then, does it seem so hard to deliver basic transparency to the city budget? If we're realizing incredible new terrain, why is it so difficult to lay out local government spending in a way that everyday people can

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  • cuomo purple tie

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    In trying to stifle the blaze that has become U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation into the Buffalo Billion economic development program, Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly invoked the name of Bart Schwartz, a former federal prosecutor the administration has retained (or is in the process of retaining) to carry out an “independent” review of the project.

    In acknowledging that people close to him were being investigated in relation to the Buffalo Billion, Cuomo announced Schwartz’s hire on

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  • dinapoli podium

    Comptroller DiNapoli (photo via The Comptroller's Office)


    “With all the other storylines coming out of Albany these days, it’s not surprising that fiscal reform doesn’t crack the top ten list of priority issues to address, but it should,” said New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli at a Wednesday morning event held by Crain’s New York Business, striking a serious tone as he outlined proposals for fiscal reform just released by his office.

    DiNapoli’s plan calls on

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  • de blasio school visit

    The Mayor & education leaders (Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)


    As mayoral control of city schools comes up for Albany renewal again this year, one concern being raised by a variety of analysts is how and where the New York City Department of Education spends its money. Namely, the opacity of DOE procurement and contracting continues to be of concern to those worried about waste and a lack of oversight for the department with an annual expense budget of more than $20

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