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  • Push for Healthy Student Eating Extends Beyond School Meals

    students teacher brooklyn school yard

    The first day of school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In New York City, nearly half of elementary school children are overweight. The city’s Department of Education is in charge of the largest school food service program in the country, serving over 177 million meals per year. But despite the city’s efforts, such as providing free breakfast for students and placing restrictions on snacks sold in school vending machines, childhood obesity continues to pose a major challenge. In recent decades there have been significant

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  • AARP Emerges as Key De Blasio Ally

    aarp ny

    AARP members pack City Council chambers (photo via @aarpny)


    There are about 800,000 AARP members in New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio has been arm-in-arm with them of late. The organization has come out in strong support of key pieces of de Blasio's affordable housing agenda and his plan to create a city-run retirement savings program for private sector workers.

    De Blasio has sought and embraced the support, frequently engaging with AARP members and regularly citing AARP's endorsement as validation for his housing plan, specifically controversial changes to the city's zoning

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 21

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week will be another busy one when it comes to budgets: the City Council continues its preliminary budget hearings and state budget negotiations enter their final ten days - a state budget is due by April 1 and some say a deal could be announced before the end of this week. Don't count on it, though, state budgets usually come in just before (or, as was the case last year, just after) the March 31 midnight

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  • Sides Near Deal on Major Zoning Changes Aimed at Creating Affordable Housing

    de blasio rally

    De Blasio rallies for his housing plans (photo: Demetrius Freeman, Mayor's Office)


    After months of public discussion and weeks of private negotiation, the City Council is on the verge of passing, with tweaks, two sweeping changes to the city's land use rules that are key to Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan.

    Sources familiar with negotiations say that some details are still being worked through, but that the major tenets of the controversial changes to city zoning text are all but set. A deal may be announced as early as Monday

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  • Planning Commission Vote Will Send Zoning Proposals to City Council

    greenfield city hall

    Council Member Greenfield leads a press conference (photo: William Alatriste) 


    The next ten days are an especially critical period for Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan. While negotiations around a new state-level program to incentivize affordable housing production continue and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to soon flesh out general affordable housing plans he announced during his recent State of the State speech, city-level changes being sought by de Blasio are on the move.

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  • The City's Next Steps to Ensure Vibrant, Creative Communities

    nyc culture

    photo via @NYCulture


    Earlier this month, the city's Department of Cultural Affairs announced a promising new program aimed at strengthening cultural organizations in targeted neighborhoods. The initiative, known as Building Community Capacity, was introduced in conjunction with Mayor de Blasio's rezoning proposal in East New York, where the program will be launched.

    The new initiative is

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  • Hope Knight to Join City Planning Commission at 'Exciting Time'

    hope knight city planning

    Hope Knight (photo via @rorylancman)


    "It's an exciting time to be joining the City Planning Commission," City Council Member Brad Lander said Tuesday to Hope Knight, a mayoral nominee to the commission at the nexus of controversial housing-related policy being pursued by the de Blasio administration.

    "It's a tough time to be joining," Knight said during her appearance in front of Lander's committee, which is tasked with vetting potential appointees to several commissions. Knight, who is all but sure to be approved Wednesday by the

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Dec 7-11

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday 

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio signs legislation creating the city's new Department of Veterans' Services, via Joe Bello, @NYMetroVets

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, November 30

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    After a quiet Thanksgiving weekend, New York politics springs back into action Monday. As the week gets going we're watching as discussions continue around the mayor's rezoning policies, which have been seeing some significant pushback from community and borough boards.

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  • Mayor and Speaker: Rezoning Plans Will Change Before Council Vote

    mmv bdb via city council twitter

    The Speaker & the Mayor (photo via the City Council)


    Speaking at separate events over a two-day span, both Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito acknowledged significant community pushback against the mayor's rezoning proposals and said that those plans will be tweaked before the Council votes on them.

    On Monday, de Blasio was asked about the largely negative reaction across the city to the zoning

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  • Rezoning Discussion Shifts to Food Access, At Least for One Breakfast

    red hook harvest via greencityforce

    Red Hook Houses harvesting (photo via @GreenCityForce)


    In the midst of city-wide controversy surrounding two new zoning proposalsconnected to Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s affordable housing plan, health and housing experts gathered to discuss how zoning could impact something else: food.

    “I

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  • Stakeholders Urge Adams to Reject East New York Community Plan

    eric adams via twitter bpericadams

    BK BP Adams at an event (photo via @bpericadams)


    At Brooklyn Borough Hall on Monday, Borough President Eric Adams held a public hearing on the de Blasio administration’s controversial East New York Community Plan. After remarks from City Council representatives at the packed-to-capacity hearing, stakeholders from the affected area urged Adams to reject it.

    “What I’m gonna stand here and talk about is

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, November 16-20

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday November 20, 2015

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio, former Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and others at Friday's tree-planting ceremony, via @NYCCouncil; former

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  • De Blasio Housing Chief Looks to Allay Fears, Build Support for Rezonings

    Been NY Law School

    New York Law School's Ross Sandler & HPD's Vicki Been (Phoebe Rosen for NYLS)


    Vicki Been, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, said that the city’s affordable housing plan is on track and responded to critics on Friday, emphasizing that the plan is less about simply building units and more about “making neighborhoods better.”

    Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the CityLand publication of New York Law School, Been gave a balanced, thorough

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  • East Harlem Tenants Group Rejects De Blasio Housing Plan, Offers Its Own

    East-HarlemMovement

    A Movement for Justice in El Barrio rally


    An East Harlem tenants group is gearing up to battle Mayor Bill de Blasio over his housing plan, saying that the plan will see local mom-and-pop stores bought out by chains, further incentivize landlords to push tenants out, and destroy the culture of Spanish Harlem.

    The group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, is countering the de Blasio rezoning proposal that they call a "luxury housing plan" with a 10-point agenda of its own designed to preserve current housing stock and protect the community from gentrification. It

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  • With Risks, P3s and Design-Build Seen as Beneficial to Infrastructure Planning

    MTA MetroNorth garage

    A new MTA MetroNorth facility (photo: MTA/Patrick Cashin)


    At an Urban Land Institute conference last week, two panels of transportation experts – one from the public sector, the other from the private sector – discussed the issues plaguing tri-state transportation systems and the potential of public-private partnerships to address them.

    “Transportation agencies are great at delivering state-of-good-repair projects, delivering normal replacement

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  • Brooklyn Neighborhoods Look to Address School Overcrowding, Avoid Rezoning Issues Seen Elsewhere

    bk overcrowding forum

    The community school forum (photo: @JoAnneSimonBK52) 


    As rezoning problems plague some city school districts, leaders in one area of Brooklyn are looking to avoid similar pitfalls while reducing overcrowding.

    In Carroll Gardens last week, local officials and parents gathered in the PS 58 auditorium to discuss overcrowding issues facing three elementary schools. Like others across the city, District 15 - which includes the schools at

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, October 5-9

    week in review bus readers

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


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 9

    PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio pitches his rezoning plans in East New York, via Chang W. Lee for the New York Times; charter school supporters rally in Brooklyn, ...