Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/vincent-ignizio 2017-12-12T06:47:30+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Two New Reps Join the City Council 2015-11-20T18:51:10+00:00 2015-11-20T18:51:10+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5999:two-new-reps-set-to-join-the-city-council Super User <p><img alt="borelli grodenchik council" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/IMG_3563.JPG" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CMs Borelli, right, &amp; Grodenchik are sworn in next to the Speaker (photo by William Alatriste)</span>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council has two new members, each with prior experience in elected office and bringing to the 51-member body the perspective of New Yorkers living in the city's outer-reaches. Both districts being represented by new members are populated by many car- and single-family-home-owners.</p> <p>One new representative - Barry Grodenchik of Queens - brings a fairly moderate Democratic viewpoint to the Council's majority, while the other new Council member - Joseph Borelli of Staten Island - brings an outspoken style to the Republican minority. Both Grodenchik and Borelli were sworn in on Tuesday, November 24, and participated in their first official Council business at that afternoon's "Stated Meeting."</p> <p>Earlier this month, the two former Assembly members were chosen through special elections to fill Council vacancies created by members who resigned to take other jobs: Mark Weprin left to work for Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vincent Ignizio to lead Staten Island Catholic Charities.</p> <p>The New York City Board of Elections counted all absentee and military ballots and officially certified the elections, and the two members took office. They were given a standing round of applause by their colleagues when they were announced into Council Chambers at City Hall.</p> <p>Grodenchik, most recently a deputy Queens borough president after his time in the Assembly, prevailed in a crowded Democratic primary and went on to defeat his Republican opponent, retired police captain Joseph Concannon. Grodenchik will now serve the remainder of Weprin's term through 2017.</p> <p>No stranger to elected office and political work, Grodenchik says he's ready to hit the ground running: "My learning curve is much shorter than a new Council member's would usually be," he said. "I bring experience in government. This is what we campaigned on and obviously people responded to that."</p> <p>While Grodenchik says he's excited to work with his new colleagues, many of whom he knows well, and about the progressive direction of the Council, he also represents a district that largely differs on some of the policies of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, many Council members, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.</p> <p>Borelli, meanwhile, represents a district whose residents have even less affinity for the progressive direction the city is heading and the people leading that charge, starting with the mayor. Borelli is expected to bring a strong dissenting voice to the Council as he joins what will be a three-member Republican minority led by his Staten Island neighbor Steven Matteo and also includes Queens Council Member Eric Ulrich.</p> <p>Coming from the Assembly minority, though, Borelli may actually have more opportunity to influence the policy discussions in the Council.</p> <p>"I think it's a great time to be a member of the City Council because the spectrum of opinion is so wide," Borelli told Gotham Gazette. "I'm excited from a policy advocacy standpoint just to be able to present my opinion."</p> <p>Besides their obvious disadvantage, he said the Republican minority is "a small but stalwart band."</p> <p>Both Borelli and Grodenchik plan to make an impact over the next two years, as they described to Gotham Gazette in recent interviews, and will then be up for reelection in 2017, when the entire Council is on the ballot, including 11 seats where the current members are term-limited - chief among those being the speaker.</p> <p>In a statement to Gotham Gazette, Mark-Viverito said, "Council Members-elect Barry Grodenchik and Joseph Borelli staunchly represented Queens and Staten Island in the New York State Assembly and now bring their strong records of public service to the City Council. I look forward to working with our incoming members to deliver results for New Yorkers across the five boroughs."</p> <p><em>Gotham Gazette spoke at some length with both incoming Council members, Grodenchik and Borelli, about their experience and their priorities:</em></p> <p><strong>Barry Grodenchik, Queens Democrat, District 23</strong><br />"I knocked on close to 5,000 doors in the course of the campaign. The two complaints that I heard over and over was water and sewer rates and property taxes going up each year," Grodenchik told Gotham Gazette. "Taxes on condos and co-ops are unfair. There's no question about it. That's something I'm going to gauge my colleagues on," he added.</p> <p>Along with these issues of home ownership and affordability, Grodenchik cited transportation as a key concern. Situated on the edge of Queens, District 23 lacks much of the mass transit infrastructure in other parts of the city. There are no subway or Long Island Rail Road stops. "We live in what has been rightly called a mass transit desert," he said. "It can take an awfully long time to get from my district to the downtown business district," he said.</p> <p>While he did not say he has any specific legislation in mind, Grodenchik is gathering a policy agenda and continuing to talk with constituents. He's been attending community and private meetings across the district, which covers Queens Village, Bayside, Douglaston, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, New Hyde Park and Little Neck. One week this month he had more than a dozen meetings with representatives from community boards, civic, and cultural organizations, he said.</p> <p>Grodenchik also has plans to visit every public school in his district over the next few months to familiarize himself with school officials and parent-teacher associations to "make sure they're getting what they need to be the best schools in the city," he said.</p> <p>As a "good Democrat," Grodenchik has a strong contingent of progressive colleagues, some of whom he has known for years. He admires the progressive direction that the Council has taken in the last two years and says he will likely see eye-to-eye with them on most issues, but not all. "I think people can disagree without being disagreeable," he said, stating his ardent opposition to congestion pricing proposals as an example. "I see it as a tax, particularly for people in Queens. It's a non-starter as far as I'm concerned," he said.</p> <p>But he looks forward to being a part of a Council that has become more equitable, he said, under current Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, with resources allotted to members and districts in a clear, fair fashion.</p> <p>Grodenchik has a long history of serving Queens. He worked under Queens Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn; he was Chief Administrative Officer for Borough President Claire Shulman for more than ten years. He was also a deputy borough president under Helen Marshall. In 2002, he was elected to the New York State Assembly where he served till 2014 (Grodenchik ran an abbreviated campaign for Queens BP in 2013 before dropping out of the race during the primary - he went on to become eventual winner Melinda Katz's director of community boards.)</p> <p>Government, at any level, is complicated, Grodenchik says, but "You have to be able to come to the table with people you like and people you don't like to craft a solution that works for both community and the city...to move the city forward in the best possible way."</p> <p><strong>Joseph Borelli, Staten Island Republican, District 51</strong><br />Borelli, a state Assembly member, ran unopposed for District 51 on Staten Island, winning the seat formerly held by Vincent Ignizio. The district covers the southern end of the borough including neighborhoods such as Arden Heights, Bay Terrace, Oakwood, Great Kills, Richmond Valley, Huguenot and Princes Bay. Like Grodenchik's, it is also seen as a transportation desert.</p> <p>For Borelli, the transition to the City Council is relatively easy. "The district is pretty much the same so I'm just sort of moving my bullseye over a bit," he said. With a strong idea of the work ahead, Borelli is making the rounds of the district. He has spent time during the last two weeks in meetings with his predecessor about issues to pursue and with city agencies to discuss capital projects in the district.</p> <p>In setting his agenda, Borelli already has a few concrete priorities. "There are some major land use issues here that are especially important to us," he said of the construction of an outlet mall in Rossville at a massive liquefied natural gas storage site.</p> <p>"These are big projects in this, some would say, backwater of New York City that require the same attention from the city planning and building department as some of the higher-profile projects in Brooklyn or Manhattan," he said.</p> <p>He also hopes to improve the city's solid waste plan for e-waste which, he said, seems to work better in areas with high-rise buildings than it does in his community. "Why should it be more difficult for my community to get rid of a TV?"</p> <p>A Republican, Borelli is not particularly on board with the Council's liberal bent, expressing his concern for many of the proposals recently put forward such as those to reform the NYPD and Riker's Island, and the decriminalization of minor offenses like public urination and open container violations.</p> <p>"Some of the new proposals don't jive well with a bedroom community like Staten Island," he said, citing a bill recently introduced by Council Member Mark Levine which would prohibit credit checks for renters.</p> <p>Borelli believes that "progressivism" doesn't speak to many people who live in the outer boroughs, who aren't represented by "these squeaky-wheel groups" who lobby the Council on issues and who feel the movement has lost touch with middle class New Yorkers.</p> <p>"What group out there hopes for more public urination?" he asked rhetorically. "I'm against progressivism and in favor of restoring some rational thought to policies like that."</p> <p>In doing so, he firmly believes he has his community's support. "My constituents really have my back," he said, "and it's very empowering when you feel like that."</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p>This article has been updated to reflect the two new members officially taking office - it had originally been published in the lead up to their formally joining the Council.</p> <p><img alt="borelli grodenchik council" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/IMG_3563.JPG" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CMs Borelli, right, &amp; Grodenchik are sworn in next to the Speaker (photo by William Alatriste)</span>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>The New York City Council has two new members, each with prior experience in elected office and bringing to the 51-member body the perspective of New Yorkers living in the city's outer-reaches. Both districts being represented by new members are populated by many car- and single-family-home-owners.</p> <p>One new representative - Barry Grodenchik of Queens - brings a fairly moderate Democratic viewpoint to the Council's majority, while the other new Council member - Joseph Borelli of Staten Island - brings an outspoken style to the Republican minority. Both Grodenchik and Borelli were sworn in on Tuesday, November 24, and participated in their first official Council business at that afternoon's "Stated Meeting."</p> <p>Earlier this month, the two former Assembly members were chosen through special elections to fill Council vacancies created by members who resigned to take other jobs: Mark Weprin left to work for Governor Andrew Cuomo and Vincent Ignizio to lead Staten Island Catholic Charities.</p> <p>The New York City Board of Elections counted all absentee and military ballots and officially certified the elections, and the two members took office. They were given a standing round of applause by their colleagues when they were announced into Council Chambers at City Hall.</p> <p>Grodenchik, most recently a deputy Queens borough president after his time in the Assembly, prevailed in a crowded Democratic primary and went on to defeat his Republican opponent, retired police captain Joseph Concannon. Grodenchik will now serve the remainder of Weprin's term through 2017.</p> <p>No stranger to elected office and political work, Grodenchik says he's ready to hit the ground running: "My learning curve is much shorter than a new Council member's would usually be," he said. "I bring experience in government. This is what we campaigned on and obviously people responded to that."</p> <p>While Grodenchik says he's excited to work with his new colleagues, many of whom he knows well, and about the progressive direction of the Council, he also represents a district that largely differs on some of the policies of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, many Council members, and Mayor Bill de Blasio.</p> <p>Borelli, meanwhile, represents a district whose residents have even less affinity for the progressive direction the city is heading and the people leading that charge, starting with the mayor. Borelli is expected to bring a strong dissenting voice to the Council as he joins what will be a three-member Republican minority led by his Staten Island neighbor Steven Matteo and also includes Queens Council Member Eric Ulrich.</p> <p>Coming from the Assembly minority, though, Borelli may actually have more opportunity to influence the policy discussions in the Council.</p> <p>"I think it's a great time to be a member of the City Council because the spectrum of opinion is so wide," Borelli told Gotham Gazette. "I'm excited from a policy advocacy standpoint just to be able to present my opinion."</p> <p>Besides their obvious disadvantage, he said the Republican minority is "a small but stalwart band."</p> <p>Both Borelli and Grodenchik plan to make an impact over the next two years, as they described to Gotham Gazette in recent interviews, and will then be up for reelection in 2017, when the entire Council is on the ballot, including 11 seats where the current members are term-limited - chief among those being the speaker.</p> <p>In a statement to Gotham Gazette, Mark-Viverito said, "Council Members-elect Barry Grodenchik and Joseph Borelli staunchly represented Queens and Staten Island in the New York State Assembly and now bring their strong records of public service to the City Council. I look forward to working with our incoming members to deliver results for New Yorkers across the five boroughs."</p> <p><em>Gotham Gazette spoke at some length with both incoming Council members, Grodenchik and Borelli, about their experience and their priorities:</em></p> <p><strong>Barry Grodenchik, Queens Democrat, District 23</strong><br />"I knocked on close to 5,000 doors in the course of the campaign. The two complaints that I heard over and over was water and sewer rates and property taxes going up each year," Grodenchik told Gotham Gazette. "Taxes on condos and co-ops are unfair. There's no question about it. That's something I'm going to gauge my colleagues on," he added.</p> <p>Along with these issues of home ownership and affordability, Grodenchik cited transportation as a key concern. Situated on the edge of Queens, District 23 lacks much of the mass transit infrastructure in other parts of the city. There are no subway or Long Island Rail Road stops. "We live in what has been rightly called a mass transit desert," he said. "It can take an awfully long time to get from my district to the downtown business district," he said.</p> <p>While he did not say he has any specific legislation in mind, Grodenchik is gathering a policy agenda and continuing to talk with constituents. He's been attending community and private meetings across the district, which covers Queens Village, Bayside, Douglaston, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, New Hyde Park and Little Neck. One week this month he had more than a dozen meetings with representatives from community boards, civic, and cultural organizations, he said.</p> <p>Grodenchik also has plans to visit every public school in his district over the next few months to familiarize himself with school officials and parent-teacher associations to "make sure they're getting what they need to be the best schools in the city," he said.</p> <p>As a "good Democrat," Grodenchik has a strong contingent of progressive colleagues, some of whom he has known for years. He admires the progressive direction that the Council has taken in the last two years and says he will likely see eye-to-eye with them on most issues, but not all. "I think people can disagree without being disagreeable," he said, stating his ardent opposition to congestion pricing proposals as an example. "I see it as a tax, particularly for people in Queens. It's a non-starter as far as I'm concerned," he said.</p> <p>But he looks forward to being a part of a Council that has become more equitable, he said, under current Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, with resources allotted to members and districts in a clear, fair fashion.</p> <p>Grodenchik has a long history of serving Queens. He worked under Queens Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn; he was Chief Administrative Officer for Borough President Claire Shulman for more than ten years. He was also a deputy borough president under Helen Marshall. In 2002, he was elected to the New York State Assembly where he served till 2014 (Grodenchik ran an abbreviated campaign for Queens BP in 2013 before dropping out of the race during the primary - he went on to become eventual winner Melinda Katz's director of community boards.)</p> <p>Government, at any level, is complicated, Grodenchik says, but "You have to be able to come to the table with people you like and people you don't like to craft a solution that works for both community and the city...to move the city forward in the best possible way."</p> <p><strong>Joseph Borelli, Staten Island Republican, District 51</strong><br />Borelli, a state Assembly member, ran unopposed for District 51 on Staten Island, winning the seat formerly held by Vincent Ignizio. The district covers the southern end of the borough including neighborhoods such as Arden Heights, Bay Terrace, Oakwood, Great Kills, Richmond Valley, Huguenot and Princes Bay. Like Grodenchik's, it is also seen as a transportation desert.</p> <p>For Borelli, the transition to the City Council is relatively easy. "The district is pretty much the same so I'm just sort of moving my bullseye over a bit," he said. With a strong idea of the work ahead, Borelli is making the rounds of the district. He has spent time during the last two weeks in meetings with his predecessor about issues to pursue and with city agencies to discuss capital projects in the district.</p> <p>In setting his agenda, Borelli already has a few concrete priorities. "There are some major land use issues here that are especially important to us," he said of the construction of an outlet mall in Rossville at a massive liquefied natural gas storage site.</p> <p>"These are big projects in this, some would say, backwater of New York City that require the same attention from the city planning and building department as some of the higher-profile projects in Brooklyn or Manhattan," he said.</p> <p>He also hopes to improve the city's solid waste plan for e-waste which, he said, seems to work better in areas with high-rise buildings than it does in his community. "Why should it be more difficult for my community to get rid of a TV?"</p> <p>A Republican, Borelli is not particularly on board with the Council's liberal bent, expressing his concern for many of the proposals recently put forward such as those to reform the NYPD and Riker's Island, and the decriminalization of minor offenses like public urination and open container violations.</p> <p>"Some of the new proposals don't jive well with a bedroom community like Staten Island," he said, citing a bill recently introduced by Council Member Mark Levine which would prohibit credit checks for renters.</p> <p>Borelli believes that "progressivism" doesn't speak to many people who live in the outer boroughs, who aren't represented by "these squeaky-wheel groups" who lobby the Council on issues and who feel the movement has lost touch with middle class New Yorkers.</p> <p>"What group out there hopes for more public urination?" he asked rhetorically. "I'm against progressivism and in favor of restoring some rational thought to policies like that."</p> <p>In doing so, he firmly believes he has his community's support. "My constituents really have my back," he said, "and it's very empowering when you feel like that."</p> <p>***<br />by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p>This article has been updated to reflect the two new members officially taking office - it had originally been published in the lead up to their formally joining the Council.</p> 2015 General Election Results 2015-11-04T12:17:43+00:00 2015-11-04T12:17:43+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5968:2015-general-election-results Super User <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22127912963_5f30becd97_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo voting Nov 2015" width="600" height="390" /></span></span></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo votes on Tuesday (via the Governor's Office <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/22127912963/in/album-72157660704910156/" target="_blank">on flickr</a>)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">Although there weren't many high-profile races in&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/new-york-city-election-results-1.11055762" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/new-york-city-election-results-1.11055762" style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">yesterday's election</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">,&nbsp;New York City now has two new members of the City Council (one in Queens, one on Staten Island), two new District Attorneys (Staten Island and the Bronx), two new Assembly members (Queens and Brooklyn), a new state Senator (Brooklyn), and a few new judges.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">On&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/nyregion/michael-mcmahon-ex-congressman-is-elected-staten-island-district-attorney.html?ref=nyregion" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/nyregion/michael-mcmahon-ex-congressman-is-elected-staten-island-district-attorney.html?ref=nyregion">Staten Island</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">, former Congressional Rep. and City Council Member Michael McMahon, a Democrat, defeated Republican Joan Illuzzi to become District Attorney. The seat was&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://observer.com/2015/11/democrat-michael-mcmahon-wins-staten-island-district-attorney-race/" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://observer.com/2015/11/democrat-michael-mcmahon-wins-staten-island-district-attorney-race/">left vacant</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;when former DA Daniel Donovan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats now hold the DA position in all five boroughs.&nbsp;</span></span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">The Bronx got its&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://www.twcnews.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/11/3/election-day-2015.html" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://www.twcnews.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/11/3/election-day-2015.html">first new DA</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;in 26 years as Darcel Clark was&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://bronx.news12.com/news/darcel-clark-declared-winner-in-bronx-da-race-1.11052213" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://bronx.news12.com/news/darcel-clark-declared-winner-in-bronx-da-race-1.11052213">elected</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;to the seat. Clark, a New York Supreme Court judge, replaced Robert Johnson who resigned to run for Supreme Court justice.</span></span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">A Democrat also won the City Council seat from Eastern Queens. Former Assembly Member&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://observer.com/2015/11/barry-grodenchik-wins-queens-city-council-race/" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://observer.com/2015/11/barry-grodenchik-wins-queens-city-council-race/">Barry Grodenchik</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;beat his Republican opponent,&nbsp;Joseph Colcannon, a retired police captain. The seat belonged to Mark Weprin, a Democrat who left the Council to join Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration.&nbsp;The Staten Island City Council seat went to Republican Joseph Borelli, an Assembly member who ran unopposed to replace Vincent Ignizio, who had resigned for a job as a nonprofit leader. Borelli joins the Council's Republican minority, returning it to three members in the 51-seat body. Both Grodenchik and Borelli will have to run in 2017 to retain their seats.</span></span></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">As was the case with the two Council seats, the three special elections for New York City-based seats in the state legislature remained with the same political party. All three state legislative seats stayed Democrat. With a whopping majority, Democrat Assembly Member Roxanne Persaud won a Brooklyn Senate seat over Republican Jeffrey Ferretti, owner of a real estate company. The seat&nbsp;was left vacant when former State Senator John Sampson was convicted in July on federal charges of obstruction of justice and false statements.</span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">The two Assembly seats were also won by Democrats. Pamela Harris, a retired corrections officer,&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://observer.com/2015/11/rare-black-representative-of-a-majority-white-seat-elected-in-brooklyn/" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://observer.com/2015/11/rare-black-representative-of-a-majority-white-seat-elected-in-brooklyn/">defeated</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter to become the&nbsp;only African-American to represent a majority white district in the city.&nbsp;The district covers parts of southern Brooklyn and the post was left vacant when the former rep resigned to take a private-sector job.</span></span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">In the special election to complete the term of Democrat William Scarborough -- who was forced from office after accepting a plea on corruption charges -- Democrat Alicia Hyndman beat her opponent with a wide margin. Hyndman, Harris, and Regina-Potter will all have to run for re-election next year, in 2016 when all of the state legislature goes up for election, to retain their seats.</span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">In one of many unopposed races,&nbsp;Democrat Richard Brown won the seat of Queens DA for the seventh consecutive term.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">***<br />by Samar Khrushid<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22127912963_5f30becd97_z.jpg" alt="Cuomo voting Nov 2015" width="600" height="390" /></span></span></p> <p>Gov. Cuomo votes on Tuesday (via the Governor's Office <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/governorandrewcuomo/22127912963/in/album-72157660704910156/" target="_blank">on flickr</a>)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">Although there weren't many high-profile races in&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/new-york-city-election-results-1.11055762" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/new-york-city-election-results-1.11055762" style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">yesterday's election</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">,&nbsp;New York City now has two new members of the City Council (one in Queens, one on Staten Island), two new District Attorneys (Staten Island and the Bronx), two new Assembly members (Queens and Brooklyn), a new state Senator (Brooklyn), and a few new judges.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">On&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/nyregion/michael-mcmahon-ex-congressman-is-elected-staten-island-district-attorney.html?ref=nyregion" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/nyregion/michael-mcmahon-ex-congressman-is-elected-staten-island-district-attorney.html?ref=nyregion">Staten Island</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">, former Congressional Rep. and City Council Member Michael McMahon, a Democrat, defeated Republican Joan Illuzzi to become District Attorney. The seat was&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://observer.com/2015/11/democrat-michael-mcmahon-wins-staten-island-district-attorney-race/" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://observer.com/2015/11/democrat-michael-mcmahon-wins-staten-island-district-attorney-race/">left vacant</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;when former DA Daniel Donovan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats now hold the DA position in all five boroughs.&nbsp;</span></span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">The Bronx got its&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://www.twcnews.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/11/3/election-day-2015.html" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://www.twcnews.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2015/11/3/election-day-2015.html">first new DA</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;in 26 years as Darcel Clark was&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://bronx.news12.com/news/darcel-clark-declared-winner-in-bronx-da-race-1.11052213" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://bronx.news12.com/news/darcel-clark-declared-winner-in-bronx-da-race-1.11052213">elected</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;to the seat. Clark, a New York Supreme Court judge, replaced Robert Johnson who resigned to run for Supreme Court justice.</span></span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">A Democrat also won the City Council seat from Eastern Queens. Former Assembly Member&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://observer.com/2015/11/barry-grodenchik-wins-queens-city-council-race/" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://observer.com/2015/11/barry-grodenchik-wins-queens-city-council-race/">Barry Grodenchik</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;beat his Republican opponent,&nbsp;Joseph Colcannon, a retired police captain. The seat belonged to Mark Weprin, a Democrat who left the Council to join Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration.&nbsp;The Staten Island City Council seat went to Republican Joseph Borelli, an Assembly member who ran unopposed to replace Vincent Ignizio, who had resigned for a job as a nonprofit leader. Borelli joins the Council's Republican minority, returning it to three members in the 51-seat body. Both Grodenchik and Borelli will have to run in 2017 to retain their seats.</span></span></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">As was the case with the two Council seats, the three special elections for New York City-based seats in the state legislature remained with the same political party. All three state legislative seats stayed Democrat. With a whopping majority, Democrat Assembly Member Roxanne Persaud won a Brooklyn Senate seat over Republican Jeffrey Ferretti, owner of a real estate company. The seat&nbsp;was left vacant when former State Senator John Sampson was convicted in July on federal charges of obstruction of justice and false statements.</span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">The two Assembly seats were also won by Democrats. Pamela Harris, a retired corrections officer,&nbsp;</span><a style="font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" href="http://observer.com/2015/11/rare-black-representative-of-a-majority-white-seat-elected-in-brooklyn/" target="_blank" data-cke-saved-href="http://observer.com/2015/11/rare-black-representative-of-a-majority-white-seat-elected-in-brooklyn/">defeated</a><span style="color: #333333; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">&nbsp;Republican Lucretia Regina-Potter to become the&nbsp;only African-American to represent a majority white district in the city.&nbsp;The district covers parts of southern Brooklyn and the post was left vacant when the former rep resigned to take a private-sector job.</span></span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">In the special election to complete the term of Democrat William Scarborough -- who was forced from office after accepting a plea on corruption charges -- Democrat Alicia Hyndman beat her opponent with a wide margin. Hyndman, Harris, and Regina-Potter will all have to run for re-election next year, in 2016 when all of the state legislature goes up for election, to retain their seats.</span><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;" /><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">In one of many unopposed races,&nbsp;Democrat Richard Brown won the seat of Queens DA for the seventh consecutive term.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #333333; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20.8px;">***<br />by Samar Khrushid<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></span></p> Through Committee, Bill to Create Office of Civil Justice Heads Toward Law 2015-05-26T18:42:12+00:00 2015-05-26T18:42:12+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5740:through-committee-bill-to-create-office-of-civil-justice-heads-toward-law Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/MMV_Levine_and_co.jpg" alt="MMV Levine and co" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mark-Viverito, front, &amp; Levine, behind her, are the lead sponsors (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>New York City is one step closer to having a new Office of Civil Justice. On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Courts and Legal Services unanimously passed a bill that would create the office, to be tasked with assessing, coordinating, and helping reform the civil legal services available to low-income New Yorkers. Among the most pressing concerns are ensuring legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and tenants facing eviction.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/MMV_Levine_and_co.jpg" alt="MMV Levine and co" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Mark-Viverito, front, &amp; Levine, behind her, are the lead sponsors (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p>New York City is one step closer to having a new Office of Civil Justice. On Tuesday, the City Council's Committee on Courts and Legal Services unanimously passed a bill that would create the office, to be tasked with assessing, coordinating, and helping reform the civil legal services available to low-income New Yorkers. Among the most pressing concerns are ensuring legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and tenants facing eviction.</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, May 18 2015-05-17T14:48:57+00:00 2015-05-17T14:48:57+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5727:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-may-18 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>EMAIL SUMMIT ANYONE?</strong> The much-anticipated, long-awaited e-mail deletion policy summit organized by the Cuomo administration is set for Friday in Albany - will it happen? <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567194/cuomo-email-summit-draws-mixed-reaction-leaders" target="_blank">Will anyone go?</a></p> <p><strong>WAGE BOARD:</strong> Happening on a much faster timeline is Cuomo's new Department of Labor fast-food worker wage board - the first meeting is <a href="http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/234785/tentative-hearing-schedule-set-for-fast-food-wage-board/" target="_blank">set</a> for&nbsp;Wednesday. There are high hopes that this will soon lead to a higher minimum wage for all New Yorkers, not just fast-food workers, but it is unclear exactly where the panel's work is heading, other than that it is very likely there will be executive action on fast-food worker wages. There could, of course, be a new minimum wage deal before legislative session ends...</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p><strong>EMAIL SUMMIT ANYONE?</strong> The much-anticipated, long-awaited e-mail deletion policy summit organized by the Cuomo administration is set for Friday in Albany - will it happen? <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/05/8567194/cuomo-email-summit-draws-mixed-reaction-leaders" target="_blank">Will anyone go?</a></p> <p><strong>WAGE BOARD:</strong> Happening on a much faster timeline is Cuomo's new Department of Labor fast-food worker wage board - the first meeting is <a href="http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/234785/tentative-hearing-schedule-set-for-fast-food-wage-board/" target="_blank">set</a> for&nbsp;Wednesday. There are high hopes that this will soon lead to a higher minimum wage for all New Yorkers, not just fast-food workers, but it is unclear exactly where the panel's work is heading, other than that it is very likely there will be executive action on fast-food worker wages. There could, of course, be a new minimum wage deal before legislative session ends...</p> Next Steps for Two Soon-To-Be-Vacant City Council Seats 2015-05-15T16:39:01+00:00 2015-05-15T16:39:01+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5726:next-steps-for-two-soon-to-be-vacant-city-council-seats Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/weprin_ignizio.jpg" alt="weprin ignizio" height="429" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CMs Weprin, left, &amp; Ignizio, right, are both leaving the Council (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">City Council member Mark Weprin, a Democrat who represents part of Queens, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/exclusive-councilman-resign-work-gov-cuomo-article-1.2217535" target="_blank">announced</a> on Monday that he will step down from his seat to join Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration as Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs, making him <a href="http://gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5719-at-a-chaotic-time-cuomo-hires-weprin-to-assist-in-deal-making" target="_blank">a key liaison</a> between the governor and the state Legislature, City Council, and others.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/weprin_ignizio.jpg" alt="weprin ignizio" height="429" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">CMs Weprin, left, &amp; Ignizio, right, are both leaving the Council (photo: William Alatriste)</span></p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">City Council member Mark Weprin, a Democrat who represents part of Queens, <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/exclusive-councilman-resign-work-gov-cuomo-article-1.2217535" target="_blank">announced</a> on Monday that he will step down from his seat to join Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration as Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs, making him <a href="http://gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5719-at-a-chaotic-time-cuomo-hires-weprin-to-assist-in-deal-making" target="_blank">a key liaison</a> between the governor and the state Legislature, City Council, and others.</p> Awaiting the Next Storm: Staten Island Balances Long-Term Planning, Short-Term Needs 2015-04-15T16:39:14+00:00 2015-04-15T16:39:14+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5687:awaiting-the-next-storm-staten-island-balances-long-term-planning-short-term-needs-oddo Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/SI_FEMA.jpg" alt="SI FEMA" height="397" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Staten Island after Sandy; Nov. 9, 2012 (photo: Walter Jennings via FEMA)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Just over half of the deaths caused by Superstorm Sandy, 22 to be exact, occurred on Staten Island's East and South shores, as the storm's waves battered homes and swept some off their foundations.</p> <p>Now the island is in a race against time to prepare for the next major coastal storm. Multi-million dollar resiliency projects are coming to Staten Island, from a sea wall on its East Shore to the expansion of innovative "natural drainage corridors."</p> <p>The projects are on target, say local officials, but the pace needs to be faster.</p> <p>The island's East Shore is directly exposed to the New York Bight, a coastline formation that can channel powerful storm waves and surges into areas within New York Harbor.</p> <p>The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to construct a "mega" sea wall that will protect over half of the East Shore, from the Verrazano Bridge to Oakwood, said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo in a phone interview.</p> <p>The Army Corps will be releasing a draft feasibility study on the proposed wall to the public next month.</p> <p>Oddo estimated that the wall would be completed by 2020 or 2021. The city and state are also assisting with its construction, he said.</p> <p>"This is a different timetable than [the initial plans] we talked about," added the borough president. "Help has been all too slow in coming...There will be several hurricane seasons."</p> <p>What happens between now and 2020 or 2021?</p> <p>Oddo said that smaller-scale protective measures were underway, such as the elevation of several hundred homes using new FEMA flood maps as a guide.</p> <p>The city has also rebuilt 26,000 linear feet of dunes between South Beach and Conference House Park. But "[the dunes] were not designed to handle an historic storm," said Oddo. "They were designed to handle beach erosion."</p> <p><strong>What happens if you're not behind the mega wall?</strong><br />One area on the eastern shore that won't benefit from the Army Corps mega-wall plan is the district of New York City Council Member Vincent Ignizio.</p> <p>There, a package of other solutions has been developed in conjunction with the city, the state's New York Rising program, and the federal government. They include construction of a series of "living breakwaters" and protective berms, home elevations, and, in some cases, strategic retreat.</p> <p>Ignizio expects these initiatives to be effective, and the lack of a wall not necessarily a problem. "People want to be protected but not walled off," he explained.</p> <p>But what is missing, Ignizio added, is a more robust home elevation program. The city's Sandy rebuilding program, Build It Back, will only pay for an elevation if half or more of the home was damaged, he said.</p> <p>Since the goal is to elevate, the city and homeowners could share the cost in cases where less than half of the home was damaged, Ignizio argued. The city is reviewing his proposal, the council member said. The Mayor's Office did not respond to questions about the idea.</p> <p>Ignizio said that the de Blasio administration is moving at a faster pace than that of its predecessor, but he added that no matter what, "The sad reality is that these projects will be extremely helpful but will take a long time."</p> <p>Concluded Ignizio: "I'm getting tired of the studies and the reviews. ...I want to see shovels in the ground and hammers in the streets."</p> <p><strong>It's more than coastal flooding</strong><br />Staten Island's vulnerability to flooding is tied to both a changing environment and lack of planning by the city over several decades.</p> <p>Oddo said some neighborhoods along the East Shore still have no storm drains because of their haphazard conversion from summer bungalow to year-round communities.</p> <p>"This community still remains vulnerable to moderate rain," he said. "We are paying the price in 2013, 2015 for what we did in the 1950s and 1960s."</p> <p>The city has started to construct storm sewers and drains where possible. Some areas – like Midland Beach - are below sea level, a further complication.</p> <p>The city has also been acquiring land for a "comprehensive Mid-Island Bluebelt," which would drain a 5,000-acre area, encompassing the South Beach, New Creek (Midland Beach), and Oakwood Beach watersheds.</p> <p>"It's a decades-long, 30-year plan," said Oddo. "We're still a ways away."</p> <p>The hope is that the Mid-Island Bluebelt will mirror the success of the Staten Island Bluebelt, which makes use of natural drainage corridors — such as streams, ponds, and other wetland areas — to convey, store, and filter stormwater. Concrete pipes along the corridors move stormwater from conventional storm sewers into the Raritan Bay or the Arthur Kill.</p> <p>The city describes the Staten Island Bluebelt as "one of the most ambitious stormwater management efforts in the northeastern United States."</p> <p><strong>Ready to move inland<br /></strong>The ultimate objective, said Oddo, is to "help people re-start their lives." And for many Staten Islanders on the East and South shores, this means moving back from the sea.</p> <p>Oddo said that he and Council Member Ignizio brought the concept of acquisition for re-development to the Bloomberg administration in March, 2013 - about five months after Sandy. The idea was to allow residents to sell their homes to the government in order to be able to rebuild more safely somewhere else within the area.</p> <p>The state and city have launched an acquisition program in three neighborhoods: Ocean Breeze, Oakwood Beach and Graham Beach. Representatives from neither the city nor the state responded to questions about the status of the program.</p> <p>"Bloomberg should have embraced acquisition for redevelopment," argued Oddo. "If you can acquire a block, then you can raze structures, and raise property — that never happened. Two years, four months later — what are the holdups?"</p> <p>Failure to embrace the concept of acquisition for redevelopment is self-defeating, maintained Ignizio, since using the approach would limit exposure of homes to storm surge and lessen the need for resiliency projects.</p> <p>"It's hard not to be frustrated and angry," said Oddo. "No mayor of New York City has stood up and told the people of Staten Island, 'We fully believe in acquisition for redevelopment and are committed to it.'"</p> <p>The city could show the type of truly resilient housing that may be constructed, said Oddo. And concerns about government [effectiveness] could be overcome. "People can buy into their neighborhood again."</p> <p>Added Oddo: "I believe in this program. It truly would have worked on a wide scale if we had gotten support from the Bloomberg administration. [It would be] a really powerful message if Bill de Blasio stands up [and] says 'we're ready to go.' You'll see lots of Staten Islanders come forward."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5689-assessing-resilience-planning-is-the-city-preparing-smartly-for-the-rising-risks-of-climate-change" target="_blank">Assessing Resilience Planning: Is the City Preparing Smartly for the Rising Risks of Climate Change?</a>]</strong></p> <p>***<br />by Sarah Crean for Gotham Gazette<br />in partnership with AdaptNY and NY Environment Report<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/AdaptNY" target="_blank">@AdaptNY</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/NYEnvironment" target="_blank">@NYEnvironment</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/SI_FEMA.jpg" alt="SI FEMA" height="397" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Staten Island after Sandy; Nov. 9, 2012 (photo: Walter Jennings via FEMA)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Just over half of the deaths caused by Superstorm Sandy, 22 to be exact, occurred on Staten Island's East and South shores, as the storm's waves battered homes and swept some off their foundations.</p> <p>Now the island is in a race against time to prepare for the next major coastal storm. Multi-million dollar resiliency projects are coming to Staten Island, from a sea wall on its East Shore to the expansion of innovative "natural drainage corridors."</p> <p>The projects are on target, say local officials, but the pace needs to be faster.</p> <p>The island's East Shore is directly exposed to the New York Bight, a coastline formation that can channel powerful storm waves and surges into areas within New York Harbor.</p> <p>The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to construct a "mega" sea wall that will protect over half of the East Shore, from the Verrazano Bridge to Oakwood, said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo in a phone interview.</p> <p>The Army Corps will be releasing a draft feasibility study on the proposed wall to the public next month.</p> <p>Oddo estimated that the wall would be completed by 2020 or 2021. The city and state are also assisting with its construction, he said.</p> <p>"This is a different timetable than [the initial plans] we talked about," added the borough president. "Help has been all too slow in coming...There will be several hurricane seasons."</p> <p>What happens between now and 2020 or 2021?</p> <p>Oddo said that smaller-scale protective measures were underway, such as the elevation of several hundred homes using new FEMA flood maps as a guide.</p> <p>The city has also rebuilt 26,000 linear feet of dunes between South Beach and Conference House Park. But "[the dunes] were not designed to handle an historic storm," said Oddo. "They were designed to handle beach erosion."</p> <p><strong>What happens if you're not behind the mega wall?</strong><br />One area on the eastern shore that won't benefit from the Army Corps mega-wall plan is the district of New York City Council Member Vincent Ignizio.</p> <p>There, a package of other solutions has been developed in conjunction with the city, the state's New York Rising program, and the federal government. They include construction of a series of "living breakwaters" and protective berms, home elevations, and, in some cases, strategic retreat.</p> <p>Ignizio expects these initiatives to be effective, and the lack of a wall not necessarily a problem. "People want to be protected but not walled off," he explained.</p> <p>But what is missing, Ignizio added, is a more robust home elevation program. The city's Sandy rebuilding program, Build It Back, will only pay for an elevation if half or more of the home was damaged, he said.</p> <p>Since the goal is to elevate, the city and homeowners could share the cost in cases where less than half of the home was damaged, Ignizio argued. The city is reviewing his proposal, the council member said. The Mayor's Office did not respond to questions about the idea.</p> <p>Ignizio said that the de Blasio administration is moving at a faster pace than that of its predecessor, but he added that no matter what, "The sad reality is that these projects will be extremely helpful but will take a long time."</p> <p>Concluded Ignizio: "I'm getting tired of the studies and the reviews. ...I want to see shovels in the ground and hammers in the streets."</p> <p><strong>It's more than coastal flooding</strong><br />Staten Island's vulnerability to flooding is tied to both a changing environment and lack of planning by the city over several decades.</p> <p>Oddo said some neighborhoods along the East Shore still have no storm drains because of their haphazard conversion from summer bungalow to year-round communities.</p> <p>"This community still remains vulnerable to moderate rain," he said. "We are paying the price in 2013, 2015 for what we did in the 1950s and 1960s."</p> <p>The city has started to construct storm sewers and drains where possible. Some areas – like Midland Beach - are below sea level, a further complication.</p> <p>The city has also been acquiring land for a "comprehensive Mid-Island Bluebelt," which would drain a 5,000-acre area, encompassing the South Beach, New Creek (Midland Beach), and Oakwood Beach watersheds.</p> <p>"It's a decades-long, 30-year plan," said Oddo. "We're still a ways away."</p> <p>The hope is that the Mid-Island Bluebelt will mirror the success of the Staten Island Bluebelt, which makes use of natural drainage corridors — such as streams, ponds, and other wetland areas — to convey, store, and filter stormwater. Concrete pipes along the corridors move stormwater from conventional storm sewers into the Raritan Bay or the Arthur Kill.</p> <p>The city describes the Staten Island Bluebelt as "one of the most ambitious stormwater management efforts in the northeastern United States."</p> <p><strong>Ready to move inland<br /></strong>The ultimate objective, said Oddo, is to "help people re-start their lives." And for many Staten Islanders on the East and South shores, this means moving back from the sea.</p> <p>Oddo said that he and Council Member Ignizio brought the concept of acquisition for re-development to the Bloomberg administration in March, 2013 - about five months after Sandy. The idea was to allow residents to sell their homes to the government in order to be able to rebuild more safely somewhere else within the area.</p> <p>The state and city have launched an acquisition program in three neighborhoods: Ocean Breeze, Oakwood Beach and Graham Beach. Representatives from neither the city nor the state responded to questions about the status of the program.</p> <p>"Bloomberg should have embraced acquisition for redevelopment," argued Oddo. "If you can acquire a block, then you can raze structures, and raise property — that never happened. Two years, four months later — what are the holdups?"</p> <p>Failure to embrace the concept of acquisition for redevelopment is self-defeating, maintained Ignizio, since using the approach would limit exposure of homes to storm surge and lessen the need for resiliency projects.</p> <p>"It's hard not to be frustrated and angry," said Oddo. "No mayor of New York City has stood up and told the people of Staten Island, 'We fully believe in acquisition for redevelopment and are committed to it.'"</p> <p>The city could show the type of truly resilient housing that may be constructed, said Oddo. And concerns about government [effectiveness] could be overcome. "People can buy into their neighborhood again."</p> <p>Added Oddo: "I believe in this program. It truly would have worked on a wide scale if we had gotten support from the Bloomberg administration. [It would be] a really powerful message if Bill de Blasio stands up [and] says 'we're ready to go.' You'll see lots of Staten Islanders come forward."</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>[Related: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5689-assessing-resilience-planning-is-the-city-preparing-smartly-for-the-rising-risks-of-climate-change" target="_blank">Assessing Resilience Planning: Is the City Preparing Smartly for the Rising Risks of Climate Change?</a>]</strong></p> <p>***<br />by Sarah Crean for Gotham Gazette<br />in partnership with AdaptNY and NY Environment Report<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/AdaptNY" target="_blank">@AdaptNY</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/NYEnvironment" target="_blank">@NYEnvironment</a></p> The New Yorker's Guide To The New City Government 2013-12-31T16:55:08+00:00 2013-12-31T16:55:08+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=4792:the-guide-to-new-york-citys-new-government Super User <p><img class="caption" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/CityHall2.jpg" alt="CityHall2" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span class="caption">Photo by Bill Alatriste/City Council</span></p> <p>NEW YORK —&nbsp;The historic overhaul of New York City government this year goes well beyond the mayor's office.</p> <p class="c2">There are 21 new members of the City Council, four new borough presidents, and fresh, yet familiar, faces in the offices of Brooklyn district attorney, comptroller, and public advocate. With the city’s politics taking an increasingly liberal turn, there are few outright conservatives left in city government.</p> <p class="c2">“Reapportionment and term limits combined to make the City Council younger, a little bit further to the left, perhaps less a product of traditional political organizations or machines, and demographically, a little more like the population of the city,” said Kenneth Sherrill, Chair of the Political Science Department at Hunter College.</p> <p class="c2">New city officials include the first Mexican-American on City Council; old friends of incoming Police Commissioner Bill Bratton from his tenure during the 1990s; yet another member of the Queens Vallone clan; and a progressive new Brooklyn D.A., who has said he wants to re-train the borough's police officers. We've rounded up the full list here.</p> <h1 class="c2">Citywide</h1> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Mayor</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Bill de Blasio - De Blasio has been involved in New York City politics since he helped the last progressive mayor, David Dinkins, get elected in 1989.<span class="c3">&nbsp;Between that first campaign and his mayoral victory, De Blasio served as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, helped Hillary Clinton get elected to the U.S. Senate, spent eight years representing some of Brooklyn’s wealthier neighborhoods on the City Council, and, most recently, served as the city’s public advocate. In an attempt to deliver on a key campaign promise early on, De Blasio has spent the last few weeks drumming up support in Albany for a small tax on the wealthy to fund universal pre-K. Dinkins, somewhat ironically and <span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/nyregion/praised-by-de-blasio-dinkins-responds-with-an-arrow.html">extremely publicly</a>, recently told him to reconsider, saying “we might have more success” with a commuter tax.</span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Comptroller</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Scott Stringer - Stringer left his post as Manhattan Borough President and took on former Gov. Elliot Spitzer in order to ascend to this quietly powerful office overseeing city finances. He brings with him experience as a&nbsp;trustee of the massive<a class="c4" href="https://www.nycers.org/%28S%28ooq2yk45ynp3ouugmutx3q2u%29%29/Index.aspx"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="https://www.nycers.org/%28S%28ooq2yk45ynp3ouugmutx3q2u%29%29/Index.aspx">NYCERS pension fund</a>&nbsp;and a track record of spearheading<a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/free_details.asp?id=511"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/free_details.asp?id=511">populist economic initiatives</a>, including the New York City Taxpayer Receipt, a website that allows constituents to<a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/taxreceipt/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/taxreceipt/">track their tax dollars</a>.</span></span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Public Advocate</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Letitia "Tish" James - James has served Central Brooklyn on the City Council since 2003 and has opposed several major development and rezoning projects, including Atlantic Yards, which, for years, riled up residents around what is now the Barclays Center. Most recently, James joined progressive groups in calling for higher wages and a change in the city’s economic development policies, including more stringent requirements for banks and corporations that receive city subsidies.</span></p> <h1 class="c2">Borough-wide offices</h1> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Brooklyn District Attorney</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Kenneth P. Thompson -&nbsp;Thompson had to<a class="c4" href="http://gothamist.com/2013/11/06/new_brooklyn_da_ken_thompson.php"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://gothamist.com/2013/11/06/new_brooklyn_da_ken_thompson.php">beat incumbent Charles Hynes twice</a>&nbsp;- first, in the primary, when Hynes was a Democrat, and again when Hynes became a Republican for the general election. In an<a class="c4" href="http://www.ny1.com/content/politics/decision_2013_video/196299/ny1-online--thompson-addresses-supporters-after-winning-brooklyn-da-race"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.ny1.com/content/politics/decision_2013_video/196299/ny1-online--thompson-addresses-supporters-after-winning-brooklyn-da-race">acceptance speech</a>, the first black Brooklyn DA said voters had chosen him as an alternative to "false accusation, fear-mongering, and race-baiting." As a federal attorney, Thompson prosecuted<a class="c4" href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/26/abner-louima-ken-thompson-brooklyn-election"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/26/abner-louima-ken-thompson-brooklyn-election">police brutality</a>&nbsp;in Brooklyn and now aims to reduce false arrests by<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972">assigning prosecutors to police precincts</a>&nbsp;in East New York and Brownsville. “It is not right to have someone subjected to stop-and-frisk, snake through the system and spend two days in jail just to get out," he<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972">told the Daily News</a>.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Brooklyn Borough President</strong><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Eric Adams (D, WF)&nbsp;- Counted as an<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/hamill-returning-top-bill-bratton-stop-frisk-differently-article-1.1540414"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/hamill-returning-top-bill-bratton-stop-frisk-differently-article-1.1540414">old friend</a>&nbsp;by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Adams served 22 years in the NYPD before moving on to the State Senate, where he has represented Crown Heights, Flatbush, Sunset Park and Park Slope for the last eight years. A vocal critic of former Commissioner Ray Kelly when stop-and-frisk was on trial, Adams advocates for a "symbiotic relationship" between the police and the community.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Manhattan <span class="c3">Borough President</span></strong><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Gale Brewer (D)&nbsp;- Brewer has been a Council member for the Upper West Side and North Clinton since 2002. Her most recent political efforts include a push to<a class="c4" href="http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2013/11/27/food-trucks-get-greener-with-startups-plug-in-technology/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2013/11/27/food-trucks-get-greener-with-startups-plug-in-technology/">make food trucks greener</a>&nbsp;and to get the city to<a class="c4" href="http://www.westsiderag.com/2013/12/04/with-citibike-expansion-stalled-brewer-wants-federal-funding"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.westsiderag.com/2013/12/04/with-citibike-expansion-stalled-brewer-wants-federal-funding">seek federal funding</a>&nbsp;to expand CitiBike.</span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Queens</strong> <span class="c3"><strong>Borough President</strong></span><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Melinda Katz (D)&nbsp;- Katz represented Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and other pockets of Queens during her seven-year tenure on the City Council between 2002 and 2009. While on the Council, she was chair of the land use committee, and played a key role in moving forward the massive rezoning the city underwent during the Bloomberg administration.</span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Staten Island Borough President</strong><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">James Oddo (R) - After 15 years on the City Council, Oddo is passing his title of Republican minority leader on to fellow Staten Island politician Vincent Ignizio. When it comes to Sandy relief, Oddo<a class="c4" href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/10/gentlemanly_staten_island_bp_d.html"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/10/gentlemanly_staten_island_bp_d.html">supports an "acquisition for redevelopment" plan</a>&nbsp;that would buy out homeowners, open Midland Beach up to developers, and give former residents the option of moving back in.</span></span></p> <h1 class="c2">City Council</h1> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Manhattan</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Corey Johnson (D) - D3 - Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea, West Village- Johnson, a prominent activist in the LGBT community, will take outgoing Speaker Christine Quinn's seat. Johnson most recently served as Chair of Community Board 4, which also made him a<a class="c4" href="http://www.hydc.org/html/board/board.shtml"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.hydc.org/html/board/board.shtml">board member</a>&nbsp;of the Hudson Yards Development Corp. Johnson built much of his campaign around affordable housing, but has been the<a class="c4" href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/06/the_strange_can.php"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/06/the_strange_can.php">subject</a>&nbsp;of controversy as a former employee of GFI Development Co., which has erected its fair share of Brooklyn condos.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Ben Kallos (D) - D5 - Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island - Kallos, a lawyer and lifelong Upper East Sider, advocated for state constitutional reform as the Executive Director of the group<a class="c4" href="http://www.effectiveny.org/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.effectiveny.org/">EffectiveNY</a>&nbsp;and has put the issues of government accountability and transparency at the forefront of his campaign.<span class="c3">&nbsp;He has also pledged to try to<a class="c4" href="https://kallosforcouncil.com/solutions/second-avenue-subway-construction"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="https://kallosforcouncil.com/solutions/second-avenue-subway-construction">aid local businesses</a>&nbsp;affected by the interminable Second Avenue subway construction.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Hellen Rosenthal (D) - D6 - Upper West Side and North Clinton - Rosenthal, who is coming from a post in the City Hall Budget Office, has been a<a class="c4" href="http://www.helenrosenthal.com/press_release_from_helen_rosenthal_for_city_council_on_the_success_of_participatory_budgeting_april_4_2012"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.helenrosenthal.com/press_release_from_helen_rosenthal_for_city_council_on_the_success_of_participatory_budgeting_april_4_2012">major supporter</a>&nbsp;of participatory budgeting and has advocated bringing it to her district, where, in the past, she served as Chair of Community Board 7.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Mark Levine (D, WF) - D7 - parts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights/West Harlem, Manhattan Valley, Washington Heights, and part of UWS - Over the course of his uptown political career, Levine founded the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan and a credit union called the Neighborhood Trust. He also briefly ran the New York chapter of the controversial Teach for America program, of which he was an early participant. Levine's proposals for city schools include<a class="c4" href="http://www.votelevine.com/education"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.votelevine.com/education">expanding the curriculum</a>&nbsp;to teach about LGBT history, animal welfare, and environmental issues.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Brooklyn</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Laurie Cumbo (D) - D35 - Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, and part of Bedford Stuyvesant - Cumbo is best known in Brooklyn for her leadership and expansion of<a class="c4" href="http://mocada.org/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://mocada.org/">MoCADA</a>, the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts, and other cultural programs she has jump-started. But Cumbo has had a rough start as a Council member. She already had to<a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131210/fort-greene/city-councilwoman-elect-laurie-cumbo-apologizes-for-knockout-comments"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131210/fort-greene/city-councilwoman-elect-laurie-cumbo-apologizes-for-knockout-comments">apologize</a>&nbsp;to her new constituents for racially charged<a class="c4" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/laurie-cumbo-knockout-attack-brooklyn-blacks-jews_n_4390605.html"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/laurie-cumbo-knockout-attack-brooklyn-blacks-jews_n_4390605.html">comments she made</a>&nbsp;about the 'knockout attacks' in Crown Heights last month.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Robert Cornegy, Jr. (D) -D36- Bedford Stuvesant and parts of Crown Heights - Cornegy is transitioning from a position as Legislative Analyst for the Council's Aging and Veterans Committee. The former district leader and president of VIDA, Central Brooklyn's Vanguard Independent Democratic Association,<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/cornegy-top-recount-central-brooklyn-city-council-race-article-1.1470137"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/cornegy-top-recount-central-brooklyn-city-council-race-article-1.1470137">eked out a primary win</a>&nbsp;in a race that ended with a highly contested recount.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Rafael Espinal, Jr. (D) - D37- Cypress Hills, Bushwick, East New York, City Line, Ocean Hill, Brownsville - Two years ago, Espinal, then 27, became the youngest member of the State Assembly, representing District 54. Most recently, he<a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Rafael-L-Espinal-Jr/sponsor/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Rafael-L-Espinal-Jr/sponsor/">sponsored legislation</a>&nbsp;related to domestic abuse and, in the past, has sponsored bills that would require insurance companies to expand women's health coverage. Espinal has said he is determined to repair the infrastructure in neighborhoods that have been <a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/new-assemblyman-rafael-espinal-fights-cypress-hills-machine-made-politician-article-1.961148"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/new-assemblyman-rafael-espinal-fights-cypress-hills-machine-made-politician-article-1.961148">"completely ignored"</a>&nbsp;by the city, like Cypress Hills, where he grew up.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Carlos Menchaca (D) - D38 - Bayridge Towers, Greenwood Heights, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace - Menchaca's<a class="c4" href="http://www.decidenyc.com/carlos-menchaca-from-sandy-to-city-hall/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.decidenyc.com/carlos-menchaca-from-sandy-to-city-hall/">relief efforts in Red Hook</a>&nbsp;following Hurricane Sandy helped him get the support he needed to beat his district's incumbent. Now, he and incoming Council Member Mark Treyger want to<a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/">start a Sandy relief committee</a>&nbsp;on the City Council. Proudly claiming the dual titles of "first Mexican-American on the City Council" and "first openly gay legislator in Brooklyn,"<span class="c3">&nbsp;Menchaca cut his teeth in the offices of outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz and outgoing Speaker Christine Quinn.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Inez Barron (D) - D42 - NEIGHBORHOODS - In her five years representing State Assembly District 60, Barron has<a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Inez-D-Barron/sponsor/"></a>taken a progressive stance on issues from gun regulation to sex education. She also<a class="c4" href="http://gothamschools.org/2009/05/04/meet-inez-barron-wife-of-charles-and-a-new-assembly-member/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://gothamschools.org/2009/05/04/meet-inez-barron-wife-of-charles-and-a-new-assembly-member/">fought to end mayoral control</a>&nbsp;of city schools after a decades-long career as a public school teacher and administrator. Barron's more incendiary husband, Charles, is passing her the torch in their Council district.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Alan Maisel (D) - D46 - Canarsie, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach, part of Sheepshead Bay - Environmental issues and public safety, including 'fracking' regulation, have been prominent among the legislation Maisel has<a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Alan-Maisel/sponsor/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Alan-Maisel/sponsor/">sponsored</a>&nbsp;in his tenure serving State Assembly District 59. Much of Maisel's civic work in Brooklyn has been done through the international Jewish organization B'nai B'rith, although he has also served on his local school and community boards.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Mark Treyger (D) - D47 - Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island, and Sea Gate - After Superstorm Sandy hit, Treyger founded STRONG, the Sandy Task Force Recovery Organized by Neighborhood Groups, and is now joining forces with fellow incoming Council Member Carlos Menchaca to call for<a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/">a Sandy relief committee</a>&nbsp;on the City Council. Treyger, long active in local politics, has been a high school teacher since 2005, with strong involvement in the United Federation of Teachers.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Chaim Deutsch (D) - D48 - Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, and Brighton Beach - Over the past 20 years, Deutsch, who has a strong foothold in Brooklyn's Jewish community, has taken community safety into his own hands as president of the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol.<span class="c6">&nbsp;He founded the Patrol in the early 1990s in response to rising crime and has worked closely with both Commissioner Bill Bratton and outgoing police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Deutsch even held an appreciation ceremony for Kelly, during which he<a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000">presented the city</a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brooklyneagle.com%2Farticles%2Ffelder-calls-kelly-city%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598best-police-commissioner-ever%25E2%2580%2599-2013-12-12-153000&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGgvmwSpDHoPV0Ir4YaCJHvP26aHw">’s top cop </a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000">with a </a><span class="c0 c8"><a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000">mezuzah</a>, which Jews hang in their doorways for protection. He also<a class="c4" href="http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/204641/nyc-councilmember-elect-chaim-deutsch-praises-deblasio-on-bratton-appointment.html"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/204641/nyc-councilmember-elect-chaim-deutsch-praises-deblasio-on-bratton-appointment.html">praised Bratton</a>&nbsp;for having "excelled at police-community relations and law enforcement strategies" during his previous tenure on the NYPD.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3"><span class="c6"><span class="c0"><span class="c0"><span class="c0"><span class="c0 c8"><span class="c0">Antonio Reynoso - D34 - Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn; Ridgewood in Queens - Reynoso is taking the seat of his former boss, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, who he has been working for since 2007, most recently as her Chief of Staff. A Williamsburg native, Reynoso has made affordable housing his top issue, <a href="http://www.brooklynrail.org/2013/09/local/antonio-reynosos-fight-for-williamsburg">speaking out</a> frequently about the neighborhood's luxury makeover. He beat out a seasoned politician, former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who was forced out of the Assembly earlier this year following <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/nyregion/disgraced-assemblyman-loses-bid-for-council-seat.html?_r=0">a sexual harassment case.</a></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Queens</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Paul Vallone, Jr. (D) - D19 - College Point, Auburndale-Flushing, Bayside, Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, and Little Neck - Leaving his practice at Queens law firm Vallone and Vallone to take a seat on the City Council, Vallone seems to be leaving one<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/history-vallones-article-1.1458651"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/history-vallones-article-1.1458651">family business</a>&nbsp;for another. His father, former Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr., served on the City Council for 25 years, leaving in 2001, when his brother, Peter, Jr., was elected to represent the 22nd District (his term is up this year).<span class="c3">&nbsp;Beyond his family ties, Vallone has established thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for Queens high school students and based his campaign platform on a mix of progressive issues — such as women's access to birth control — and local issues like noise pollution from overhead flights.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Costa Constantinides (D) - D22 - Astoria, Long Island City, part of Jackson Heights, Rikers Island, Randalls Island, and Wards Island - In the district that includes the city's largest jail, Constantinides earned valuable campaign support from the Correctional Officers Benevolent Association. Constantinides aims to reduce both crime and unemployment by hiring more police officers. He has also been active in the fight for voter rights throughout the state as a member of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, and says it's time to dump the<a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120920/new-york-city/thousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120920/new-york-city/thousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms">hundreds of outdoor </a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dnainfo.com%2Fnew-york%2F20120920%2Fnew-york-city%2Fthousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEtNcxYAHlbBnO1zKkeROqyeW9H9A">“</a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120920/new-york-city/thousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms">trailer classrooms</a>”&nbsp;that are disproportionately found in Queens schools.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Rory Lancman (D) - D24 -&nbsp;<span class="c3">Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest Estates, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Utopia Estates, and parts of Forest Hills, Flushing, Jamaica and Rego Park&nbsp;- When Lancman attempted to run for Anthony Weiner's old seat in Congress last year,<a class="c4" href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/212295-rory-lancman-wants-be-next-queens-liberal-lion-congress/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/212295-rory-lancman-wants-be-next-queens-liberal-lion-congress/">WNYC reported</a>&nbsp;that he had made some enemies and that one source had even called him the "most hated member of the state Assembly." Lancman, a lawyer who served Assembly District 25 for six years, has also passed a significant volume of legislation, including the<a class="c4" href="http://acdemocracy.org/the-libel-terrorism-protection-act/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://acdemocracy.org/the-libel-terrorism-protection-act/">Libel Terrorism Protection Act</a>, which aims to protect journalists writing about terrorism abroad from being hit with defamation lawsuits, and a host of bills related to equality and<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/dominique-strauss-kahn-case-assemblyman-rory-lancman-calls-legislation-protect-hotel-maids-article-1.146262"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/dominique-strauss-kahn-case-assemblyman-rory-lancman-calls-legislation-protect-hotel-maids-article-1.146262">safety in the workplace</a>.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Daneek Miller (D) - D27 - St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Jamaica, Baisley Park, Addisleigh Park, and parts of Queens Village, Rosedale, and Springfield Gardens - In December, Miller<a class="c4" href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/political-action/3108-laborpress-honors-james-stringer-and-miller-as-champions-of-labor"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/political-action/3108-laborpress-honors-james-stringer-and-miller-as-champions-of-labor">received a "Champion of Labor" Award</a>, along with Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James. In Southeast Queens, where subway service is spotty, Miller has championed bus drivers and riders as president of the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transportation Union. He also co-founded a mentor program called Brothers Unlimited.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Bronx</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Andrew Cohen (D) - D11 - Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Woodlawn, Norwood, and parts of Bedford Park, Wakefield, and Bronx Park East - Cohen, a Riverdale attorney, has had a long career in law, including several years as a court attorney to a Bronx Supreme Court Justice, legal counsel to State Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, and a stint as an assistant adjunct at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has called for raising the minimum wage and has gained the support of the United Federation of Teachers.</span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Ritchie Torres (D) - D15 - Bathgate, Belmont, Crotona, Fordham, East Tremont, Van Nest and West Farms - Torres, only 24, is one of many young Latino Democrats making their way into city politics.<span class="c3">&nbsp;He has worked with Councilman James Vacca since his 2005 campaign and was named his housing director in 2011. Torres, who grew up in NYCHA housing, has worked to create tenants' associations and to advocate for basic rights of NYCHA residents in the Bronx, like building improvements and<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-residents-cold-article-1.1544981"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-residents-cold-article-1.1544981">heating</a>.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Vanessa Gibson (D) - D16 - West Bronx, Morrisania, Highbridge, and Melrose - A Bronx transplant from Brooklyn, Gibson was elected to State Assembly District 77 in 2009, where she has focused on housing and social services.<span class="c3">&nbsp;She began her political career as the Bronx district office manager for Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Staten Island</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Steven Matteo (R) - D50 - in Brooklyn, parts of Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach; in Staten Island, Arrochar, Bulls Head, Concord, Dongan Hill, Emerson Hill, Fort Wadsworth, Grant City, Graniteville, Grasmere, Island of Meadows, Midland Beach, New Dorp, Prall's Island, Richmondtown, South Beach, Todt Hill, Travis, Westerleigh, Willowbrook - Sandy relief is still the number one priority in Staten Island, but Matteo has identified other issues affecting residents, including rampant<a class="c4" href="http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2011/08/what-should-be-done-about-staten-islands-oxycodone-problem/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2011/08/what-should-be-done-about-staten-islands-oxycodone-problem/">prescription drug use</a>. Matteo also said he<a class="c4" href="http://www.nyccfb.info/public/voter-guide/general_2013/cd_profile/CD50_Matteo_1152.aspx"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nyccfb.info/public/voter-guide/general_2013/cd_profile/CD50_Matteo_1152.aspx">hopes to work with the mayor</a>&nbsp; "to wrestle toll setting authority” from the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority. </span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3"><span class="c0"><span class="c0"><em>This is an updated version which corrects the number of incoming City Council members to 21 and adds information on Councilman Antonio Reynoso. </em><br /></span></span></span></p> <p><img class="caption" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/CityHall2.jpg" alt="CityHall2" height="400" width="600" /></p> <p><span class="caption">Photo by Bill Alatriste/City Council</span></p> <p>NEW YORK —&nbsp;The historic overhaul of New York City government this year goes well beyond the mayor's office.</p> <p class="c2">There are 21 new members of the City Council, four new borough presidents, and fresh, yet familiar, faces in the offices of Brooklyn district attorney, comptroller, and public advocate. With the city’s politics taking an increasingly liberal turn, there are few outright conservatives left in city government.</p> <p class="c2">“Reapportionment and term limits combined to make the City Council younger, a little bit further to the left, perhaps less a product of traditional political organizations or machines, and demographically, a little more like the population of the city,” said Kenneth Sherrill, Chair of the Political Science Department at Hunter College.</p> <p class="c2">New city officials include the first Mexican-American on City Council; old friends of incoming Police Commissioner Bill Bratton from his tenure during the 1990s; yet another member of the Queens Vallone clan; and a progressive new Brooklyn D.A., who has said he wants to re-train the borough's police officers. We've rounded up the full list here.</p> <h1 class="c2">Citywide</h1> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Mayor</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Bill de Blasio - De Blasio has been involved in New York City politics since he helped the last progressive mayor, David Dinkins, get elected in 1989.<span class="c3">&nbsp;Between that first campaign and his mayoral victory, De Blasio served as the regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, helped Hillary Clinton get elected to the U.S. Senate, spent eight years representing some of Brooklyn’s wealthier neighborhoods on the City Council, and, most recently, served as the city’s public advocate. In an attempt to deliver on a key campaign promise early on, De Blasio has spent the last few weeks drumming up support in Albany for a small tax on the wealthy to fund universal pre-K. Dinkins, somewhat ironically and <span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/nyregion/praised-by-de-blasio-dinkins-responds-with-an-arrow.html">extremely publicly</a>, recently told him to reconsider, saying “we might have more success” with a commuter tax.</span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Comptroller</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Scott Stringer - Stringer left his post as Manhattan Borough President and took on former Gov. Elliot Spitzer in order to ascend to this quietly powerful office overseeing city finances. He brings with him experience as a&nbsp;trustee of the massive<a class="c4" href="https://www.nycers.org/%28S%28ooq2yk45ynp3ouugmutx3q2u%29%29/Index.aspx"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="https://www.nycers.org/%28S%28ooq2yk45ynp3ouugmutx3q2u%29%29/Index.aspx">NYCERS pension fund</a>&nbsp;and a track record of spearheading<a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/free_details.asp?id=511"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/free_details.asp?id=511">populist economic initiatives</a>, including the New York City Taxpayer Receipt, a website that allows constituents to<a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/taxreceipt/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://mbpo.org/taxreceipt/">track their tax dollars</a>.</span></span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Public Advocate</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Letitia "Tish" James - James has served Central Brooklyn on the City Council since 2003 and has opposed several major development and rezoning projects, including Atlantic Yards, which, for years, riled up residents around what is now the Barclays Center. Most recently, James joined progressive groups in calling for higher wages and a change in the city’s economic development policies, including more stringent requirements for banks and corporations that receive city subsidies.</span></p> <h1 class="c2">Borough-wide offices</h1> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Brooklyn District Attorney</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Kenneth P. Thompson -&nbsp;Thompson had to<a class="c4" href="http://gothamist.com/2013/11/06/new_brooklyn_da_ken_thompson.php"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://gothamist.com/2013/11/06/new_brooklyn_da_ken_thompson.php">beat incumbent Charles Hynes twice</a>&nbsp;- first, in the primary, when Hynes was a Democrat, and again when Hynes became a Republican for the general election. In an<a class="c4" href="http://www.ny1.com/content/politics/decision_2013_video/196299/ny1-online--thompson-addresses-supporters-after-winning-brooklyn-da-race"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.ny1.com/content/politics/decision_2013_video/196299/ny1-online--thompson-addresses-supporters-after-winning-brooklyn-da-race">acceptance speech</a>, the first black Brooklyn DA said voters had chosen him as an alternative to "false accusation, fear-mongering, and race-baiting." As a federal attorney, Thompson prosecuted<a class="c4" href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/26/abner-louima-ken-thompson-brooklyn-election"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/26/abner-louima-ken-thompson-brooklyn-election">police brutality</a>&nbsp;in Brooklyn and now aims to reduce false arrests by<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972">assigning prosecutors to police precincts</a>&nbsp;in East New York and Brownsville. “It is not right to have someone subjected to stop-and-frisk, snake through the system and spend two days in jail just to get out," he<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/da-charles-hynes-soon-to-be-successor-ken-thompson-outlines-big-plans-article-1.1452972">told the Daily News</a>.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Brooklyn Borough President</strong><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Eric Adams (D, WF)&nbsp;- Counted as an<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/hamill-returning-top-bill-bratton-stop-frisk-differently-article-1.1540414"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/hamill-returning-top-bill-bratton-stop-frisk-differently-article-1.1540414">old friend</a>&nbsp;by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, Adams served 22 years in the NYPD before moving on to the State Senate, where he has represented Crown Heights, Flatbush, Sunset Park and Park Slope for the last eight years. A vocal critic of former Commissioner Ray Kelly when stop-and-frisk was on trial, Adams advocates for a "symbiotic relationship" between the police and the community.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Manhattan <span class="c3">Borough President</span></strong><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Gale Brewer (D)&nbsp;- Brewer has been a Council member for the Upper West Side and North Clinton since 2002. Her most recent political efforts include a push to<a class="c4" href="http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2013/11/27/food-trucks-get-greener-with-startups-plug-in-technology/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com/entrepreneurs/2013/11/27/food-trucks-get-greener-with-startups-plug-in-technology/">make food trucks greener</a>&nbsp;and to get the city to<a class="c4" href="http://www.westsiderag.com/2013/12/04/with-citibike-expansion-stalled-brewer-wants-federal-funding"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.westsiderag.com/2013/12/04/with-citibike-expansion-stalled-brewer-wants-federal-funding">seek federal funding</a>&nbsp;to expand CitiBike.</span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Queens</strong> <span class="c3"><strong>Borough President</strong></span><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Melinda Katz (D)&nbsp;- Katz represented Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and other pockets of Queens during her seven-year tenure on the City Council between 2002 and 2009. While on the Council, she was chair of the land use committee, and played a key role in moving forward the massive rezoning the city underwent during the Bloomberg administration.</span></p> <h3 class="c2"><span class="c3"><strong>Staten Island Borough President</strong><br /></span></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">James Oddo (R) - After 15 years on the City Council, Oddo is passing his title of Republican minority leader on to fellow Staten Island politician Vincent Ignizio. When it comes to Sandy relief, Oddo<a class="c4" href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/10/gentlemanly_staten_island_bp_d.html"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/10/gentlemanly_staten_island_bp_d.html">supports an "acquisition for redevelopment" plan</a>&nbsp;that would buy out homeowners, open Midland Beach up to developers, and give former residents the option of moving back in.</span></span></p> <h1 class="c2">City Council</h1> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Manhattan</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Corey Johnson (D) - D3 - Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea, West Village- Johnson, a prominent activist in the LGBT community, will take outgoing Speaker Christine Quinn's seat. Johnson most recently served as Chair of Community Board 4, which also made him a<a class="c4" href="http://www.hydc.org/html/board/board.shtml"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.hydc.org/html/board/board.shtml">board member</a>&nbsp;of the Hudson Yards Development Corp. Johnson built much of his campaign around affordable housing, but has been the<a class="c4" href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/06/the_strange_can.php"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2013/06/the_strange_can.php">subject</a>&nbsp;of controversy as a former employee of GFI Development Co., which has erected its fair share of Brooklyn condos.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Ben Kallos (D) - D5 - Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island - Kallos, a lawyer and lifelong Upper East Sider, advocated for state constitutional reform as the Executive Director of the group<a class="c4" href="http://www.effectiveny.org/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.effectiveny.org/">EffectiveNY</a>&nbsp;and has put the issues of government accountability and transparency at the forefront of his campaign.<span class="c3">&nbsp;He has also pledged to try to<a class="c4" href="https://kallosforcouncil.com/solutions/second-avenue-subway-construction"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="https://kallosforcouncil.com/solutions/second-avenue-subway-construction">aid local businesses</a>&nbsp;affected by the interminable Second Avenue subway construction.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Hellen Rosenthal (D) - D6 - Upper West Side and North Clinton - Rosenthal, who is coming from a post in the City Hall Budget Office, has been a<a class="c4" href="http://www.helenrosenthal.com/press_release_from_helen_rosenthal_for_city_council_on_the_success_of_participatory_budgeting_april_4_2012"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.helenrosenthal.com/press_release_from_helen_rosenthal_for_city_council_on_the_success_of_participatory_budgeting_april_4_2012">major supporter</a>&nbsp;of participatory budgeting and has advocated bringing it to her district, where, in the past, she served as Chair of Community Board 7.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Mark Levine (D, WF) - D7 - parts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights/West Harlem, Manhattan Valley, Washington Heights, and part of UWS - Over the course of his uptown political career, Levine founded the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan and a credit union called the Neighborhood Trust. He also briefly ran the New York chapter of the controversial Teach for America program, of which he was an early participant. Levine's proposals for city schools include<a class="c4" href="http://www.votelevine.com/education"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.votelevine.com/education">expanding the curriculum</a>&nbsp;to teach about LGBT history, animal welfare, and environmental issues.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Brooklyn</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Laurie Cumbo (D) - D35 - Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, and part of Bedford Stuyvesant - Cumbo is best known in Brooklyn for her leadership and expansion of<a class="c4" href="http://mocada.org/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://mocada.org/">MoCADA</a>, the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts, and other cultural programs she has jump-started. But Cumbo has had a rough start as a Council member. She already had to<a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131210/fort-greene/city-councilwoman-elect-laurie-cumbo-apologizes-for-knockout-comments"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20131210/fort-greene/city-councilwoman-elect-laurie-cumbo-apologizes-for-knockout-comments">apologize</a>&nbsp;to her new constituents for racially charged<a class="c4" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/laurie-cumbo-knockout-attack-brooklyn-blacks-jews_n_4390605.html"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/laurie-cumbo-knockout-attack-brooklyn-blacks-jews_n_4390605.html">comments she made</a>&nbsp;about the 'knockout attacks' in Crown Heights last month.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Robert Cornegy, Jr. (D) -D36- Bedford Stuvesant and parts of Crown Heights - Cornegy is transitioning from a position as Legislative Analyst for the Council's Aging and Veterans Committee. The former district leader and president of VIDA, Central Brooklyn's Vanguard Independent Democratic Association,<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/cornegy-top-recount-central-brooklyn-city-council-race-article-1.1470137"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/cornegy-top-recount-central-brooklyn-city-council-race-article-1.1470137">eked out a primary win</a>&nbsp;in a race that ended with a highly contested recount.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Rafael Espinal, Jr. (D) - D37- Cypress Hills, Bushwick, East New York, City Line, Ocean Hill, Brownsville - Two years ago, Espinal, then 27, became the youngest member of the State Assembly, representing District 54. Most recently, he<a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Rafael-L-Espinal-Jr/sponsor/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Rafael-L-Espinal-Jr/sponsor/">sponsored legislation</a>&nbsp;related to domestic abuse and, in the past, has sponsored bills that would require insurance companies to expand women's health coverage. Espinal has said he is determined to repair the infrastructure in neighborhoods that have been <a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/new-assemblyman-rafael-espinal-fights-cypress-hills-machine-made-politician-article-1.961148"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/new-assemblyman-rafael-espinal-fights-cypress-hills-machine-made-politician-article-1.961148">"completely ignored"</a>&nbsp;by the city, like Cypress Hills, where he grew up.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Carlos Menchaca (D) - D38 - Bayridge Towers, Greenwood Heights, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace - Menchaca's<a class="c4" href="http://www.decidenyc.com/carlos-menchaca-from-sandy-to-city-hall/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.decidenyc.com/carlos-menchaca-from-sandy-to-city-hall/">relief efforts in Red Hook</a>&nbsp;following Hurricane Sandy helped him get the support he needed to beat his district's incumbent. Now, he and incoming Council Member Mark Treyger want to<a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/">start a Sandy relief committee</a>&nbsp;on the City Council. Proudly claiming the dual titles of "first Mexican-American on the City Council" and "first openly gay legislator in Brooklyn,"<span class="c3">&nbsp;Menchaca cut his teeth in the offices of outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz and outgoing Speaker Christine Quinn.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Inez Barron (D) - D42 - NEIGHBORHOODS - In her five years representing State Assembly District 60, Barron has<a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Inez-D-Barron/sponsor/"></a>taken a progressive stance on issues from gun regulation to sex education. She also<a class="c4" href="http://gothamschools.org/2009/05/04/meet-inez-barron-wife-of-charles-and-a-new-assembly-member/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://gothamschools.org/2009/05/04/meet-inez-barron-wife-of-charles-and-a-new-assembly-member/">fought to end mayoral control</a>&nbsp;of city schools after a decades-long career as a public school teacher and administrator. Barron's more incendiary husband, Charles, is passing her the torch in their Council district.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Alan Maisel (D) - D46 - Canarsie, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach, part of Sheepshead Bay - Environmental issues and public safety, including 'fracking' regulation, have been prominent among the legislation Maisel has<a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Alan-Maisel/sponsor/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Alan-Maisel/sponsor/">sponsored</a>&nbsp;in his tenure serving State Assembly District 59. Much of Maisel's civic work in Brooklyn has been done through the international Jewish organization B'nai B'rith, although he has also served on his local school and community boards.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Mark Treyger (D) - D47 - Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Coney Island, and Sea Gate - After Superstorm Sandy hit, Treyger founded STRONG, the Sandy Task Force Recovery Organized by Neighborhood Groups, and is now joining forces with fellow incoming Council Member Carlos Menchaca to call for<a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://politicker.com/2013/12/new-councilmen-call-for-new-committee-to-oversee-sandy-recovery/">a Sandy relief committee</a>&nbsp;on the City Council. Treyger, long active in local politics, has been a high school teacher since 2005, with strong involvement in the United Federation of Teachers.</span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Chaim Deutsch (D) - D48 - Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, and Brighton Beach - Over the past 20 years, Deutsch, who has a strong foothold in Brooklyn's Jewish community, has taken community safety into his own hands as president of the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol.<span class="c6">&nbsp;He founded the Patrol in the early 1990s in response to rising crime and has worked closely with both Commissioner Bill Bratton and outgoing police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Deutsch even held an appreciation ceremony for Kelly, during which he<a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000">presented the city</a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brooklyneagle.com%2Farticles%2Ffelder-calls-kelly-city%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598best-police-commissioner-ever%25E2%2580%2599-2013-12-12-153000&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNGgvmwSpDHoPV0Ir4YaCJHvP26aHw">’s top cop </a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000">with a </a><span class="c0 c8"><a class="c4" href="http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/felder-calls-kelly-city%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98best-police-commissioner-ever%E2%80%99-2013-12-12-153000">mezuzah</a>, which Jews hang in their doorways for protection. He also<a class="c4" href="http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/204641/nyc-councilmember-elect-chaim-deutsch-praises-deblasio-on-bratton-appointment.html"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/204641/nyc-councilmember-elect-chaim-deutsch-praises-deblasio-on-bratton-appointment.html">praised Bratton</a>&nbsp;for having "excelled at police-community relations and law enforcement strategies" during his previous tenure on the NYPD.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3"><span class="c6"><span class="c0"><span class="c0"><span class="c0"><span class="c0 c8"><span class="c0">Antonio Reynoso - D34 - Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn; Ridgewood in Queens - Reynoso is taking the seat of his former boss, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, who he has been working for since 2007, most recently as her Chief of Staff. A Williamsburg native, Reynoso has made affordable housing his top issue, <a href="http://www.brooklynrail.org/2013/09/local/antonio-reynosos-fight-for-williamsburg">speaking out</a> frequently about the neighborhood's luxury makeover. He beat out a seasoned politician, former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who was forced out of the Assembly earlier this year following <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/nyregion/disgraced-assemblyman-loses-bid-for-council-seat.html?_r=0">a sexual harassment case.</a></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Queens</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Paul Vallone, Jr. (D) - D19 - College Point, Auburndale-Flushing, Bayside, Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, and Little Neck - Leaving his practice at Queens law firm Vallone and Vallone to take a seat on the City Council, Vallone seems to be leaving one<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/history-vallones-article-1.1458651"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/history-vallones-article-1.1458651">family business</a>&nbsp;for another. His father, former Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr., served on the City Council for 25 years, leaving in 2001, when his brother, Peter, Jr., was elected to represent the 22nd District (his term is up this year).<span class="c3">&nbsp;Beyond his family ties, Vallone has established thousands of dollars in scholarship funds for Queens high school students and based his campaign platform on a mix of progressive issues — such as women's access to birth control — and local issues like noise pollution from overhead flights.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Costa Constantinides (D) - D22 - Astoria, Long Island City, part of Jackson Heights, Rikers Island, Randalls Island, and Wards Island - In the district that includes the city's largest jail, Constantinides earned valuable campaign support from the Correctional Officers Benevolent Association. Constantinides aims to reduce both crime and unemployment by hiring more police officers. He has also been active in the fight for voter rights throughout the state as a member of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, and says it's time to dump the<a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120920/new-york-city/thousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120920/new-york-city/thousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms">hundreds of outdoor </a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dnainfo.com%2Fnew-york%2F20120920%2Fnew-york-city%2Fthousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNEtNcxYAHlbBnO1zKkeROqyeW9H9A">“</a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120920/new-york-city/thousands-of-city-students-have-trailers-for-classrooms">trailer classrooms</a>”&nbsp;that are disproportionately found in Queens schools.</span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Rory Lancman (D) - D24 -&nbsp;<span class="c3">Briarwood, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest Estates, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens Hills, Utopia Estates, and parts of Forest Hills, Flushing, Jamaica and Rego Park&nbsp;- When Lancman attempted to run for Anthony Weiner's old seat in Congress last year,<a class="c4" href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/212295-rory-lancman-wants-be-next-queens-liberal-lion-congress/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/212295-rory-lancman-wants-be-next-queens-liberal-lion-congress/">WNYC reported</a>&nbsp;that he had made some enemies and that one source had even called him the "most hated member of the state Assembly." Lancman, a lawyer who served Assembly District 25 for six years, has also passed a significant volume of legislation, including the<a class="c4" href="http://acdemocracy.org/the-libel-terrorism-protection-act/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://acdemocracy.org/the-libel-terrorism-protection-act/">Libel Terrorism Protection Act</a>, which aims to protect journalists writing about terrorism abroad from being hit with defamation lawsuits, and a host of bills related to equality and<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/dominique-strauss-kahn-case-assemblyman-rory-lancman-calls-legislation-protect-hotel-maids-article-1.146262"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/dominique-strauss-kahn-case-assemblyman-rory-lancman-calls-legislation-protect-hotel-maids-article-1.146262">safety in the workplace</a>.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Daneek Miller (D) - D27 - St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Jamaica, Baisley Park, Addisleigh Park, and parts of Queens Village, Rosedale, and Springfield Gardens - In December, Miller<a class="c4" href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/political-action/3108-laborpress-honors-james-stringer-and-miller-as-champions-of-labor"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/political-action/3108-laborpress-honors-james-stringer-and-miller-as-champions-of-labor">received a "Champion of Labor" Award</a>, along with Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James. In Southeast Queens, where subway service is spotty, Miller has championed bus drivers and riders as president of the local chapter of the Amalgamated Transportation Union. He also co-founded a mentor program called Brothers Unlimited.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Bronx</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Andrew Cohen (D) - D11 - Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Woodlawn, Norwood, and parts of Bedford Park, Wakefield, and Bronx Park East - Cohen, a Riverdale attorney, has had a long career in law, including several years as a court attorney to a Bronx Supreme Court Justice, legal counsel to State Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, and a stint as an assistant adjunct at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has called for raising the minimum wage and has gained the support of the United Federation of Teachers.</span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Ritchie Torres (D) - D15 - Bathgate, Belmont, Crotona, Fordham, East Tremont, Van Nest and West Farms - Torres, only 24, is one of many young Latino Democrats making their way into city politics.<span class="c3">&nbsp;He has worked with Councilman James Vacca since his 2005 campaign and was named his housing director in 2011. Torres, who grew up in NYCHA housing, has worked to create tenants' associations and to advocate for basic rights of NYCHA residents in the Bronx, like building improvements and<a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-residents-cold-article-1.1544981"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-residents-cold-article-1.1544981">heating</a>.</span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Vanessa Gibson (D) - D16 - West Bronx, Morrisania, Highbridge, and Melrose - A Bronx transplant from Brooklyn, Gibson was elected to State Assembly District 77 in 2009, where she has focused on housing and social services.<span class="c3">&nbsp;She began her political career as the Bronx district office manager for Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene.</span></span></p> <h3 class="c2"><strong><span class="c3">Staten Island</span></strong></h3> <p class="c2"><span class="c3">Steven Matteo (R) - D50 - in Brooklyn, parts of Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, and Bath Beach; in Staten Island, Arrochar, Bulls Head, Concord, Dongan Hill, Emerson Hill, Fort Wadsworth, Grant City, Graniteville, Grasmere, Island of Meadows, Midland Beach, New Dorp, Prall's Island, Richmondtown, South Beach, Todt Hill, Travis, Westerleigh, Willowbrook - Sandy relief is still the number one priority in Staten Island, but Matteo has identified other issues affecting residents, including rampant<a class="c4" href="http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2011/08/what-should-be-done-about-staten-islands-oxycodone-problem/"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.thirteen.org/metrofocus/2011/08/what-should-be-done-about-staten-islands-oxycodone-problem/">prescription drug use</a>. Matteo also said he<a class="c4" href="http://www.nyccfb.info/public/voter-guide/general_2013/cd_profile/CD50_Matteo_1152.aspx"></a><span class="c0"><a class="c4" href="http://www.nyccfb.info/public/voter-guide/general_2013/cd_profile/CD50_Matteo_1152.aspx">hopes to work with the mayor</a>&nbsp; "to wrestle toll setting authority” from the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority. </span></span></span></p> <p class="c2"><span class="c3"><span class="c0"><span class="c0"><em>This is an updated version which corrects the number of incoming City Council members to 21 and adds information on Councilman Antonio Reynoso. </em><br /></span></span></span></p>