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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 1


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Welcome to June! A city budget is due by the end of the month. The state legislative session is due to end mid-month. And, it's both Gun Violence Awareness Month in New York City (legislation in 2013 declared it the first city in the United States to have a month dedicated to the cause) and LGBT Pride Month. Look for events and legislation related to each this week and as the month continues.

EYES ON ALBANY: Just 10 session days left as lawmakers in the capital work toward end-of-session deals on key issues - or just try to get out of town before anyone else is indicted. The Legislature is in session Monday through Wednesday this week, with session due to end on Wednesday June 17.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo met last week when the mayor was in Albany to push items on his agenda, also meeting with members of the Senate and the Assembly. De Blasio, Cuomo and their emmissaries have been throwing barbs of late, and it is unclear if the governor will help with any of the issues important to de Blasio, who wants to see extensions or altered extensions of mayoral control of schools, rent regulations, and the 421-a housing developer tax abatement program. There's also a lot happening around the minimum wage.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Timothy Dolan will lead a delegation to Albany Monday to make a push for the education investment tax credit that Governor Cuomo has repackaged as part of his Parental Choice in Education Act. Cuomo is also looking to move his "raise the age" legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 (New York, with North Carolina, is one of two states that has the age at 16, not 18).

TRACKING DE BLASIO: On Monday, Mayor de Blasio will "host a summit with business leaders on the urgent need to renew mayoral control." Afterward, at 1:30, he will hold a media availability at City Hall.

De Blasio spent his Sunday delivering remarks at Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn and marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade - which many elected officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo also participated in (the two did not speak to each other, it seems, but they spoke about each other to the press). He also responded to a crane collapse in midtown.

On Sunday, de Blasio also appeared on WABC-TV's Up Close with Diana Williams in a taped interview. Earlier in the weekend, on Saturday, the mayor delivered remarks at Kehilat Rayim Ahuvim, a synagogue in Manhattan, and delivered remarks at the UFT Spring Conference, as did other elected officials including Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James.

On Tuesday, de Blasio will make his second guest appearance on The Daily Show Tuesday evening. In his first, in February 2014, soon-departing host Jon Stewart mocked him for his pizza-eating habits. On Sunday June 7, de Blasio will be the grand marshal at the Queens Pride Parade.

CITY BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS: The City Council continues to hold executive budget hearings while negotiations with the de Blasio administration continue behind the scenes. A spending plan is due before July 1, when fiscal year 2016 is due to begin. Council budget hearings continue through June 9. [Read our recent report on last week's City Council DOE budget hearing]

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

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.***

The run of the week in detail:

Monday
At 9 a.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will attend a book reading with Sonia Manzano, of Sesame Street fame, at PS 11 in the Bronx.

On Monday, "Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will make remarks on his new comprehensive ethics reform legislation introduced in the state legislature last week" - in Rochester at 11 a.m. and in Buffalo at 1:30 p.m. [Read our report on that legislation]

The YWCA hosts the "Potential to Power Girls Symposium" from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday (it is "by invitation only"). The "goal of this Symposium is to develop a network of advocates to advance policy, intergenerational relationships and opportunities for the next generation of women leaders" by bringing accomplished women and young women together. A long list of impressive speakers includes Maya Wiley, counsel to Mayor de Blasio; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Secretary for Technology of New York State; City Council Member Rosie Mendez; Rep. Yvette Clarke; and Dr. Christina Greer, political science professor at Fordham University.

On Monday at 11 a.m., "Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will stand atop a damaged roof at 110 Humboldt Street, a seven-story residential building that is part of the Borinquen Plaza II development in Williamsburg, as he urges Governor Andrew Cuomo to restore $100 million in State funding for critical NYCHA roof repairs. The investment by the State, which had been previously indicated to go toward these needed projects and to be matched by the City budget, has been redesignated to fund legislators' pet projects such as landscaping and playgrounds...[Adams] will be joined by local elected officials and area tenants.

Monday's City Council schedule includes a 10 a.m. oversight hearing of the Committee on Housing and Buildings regarding Mayor de Blasio's proposed amendments to the 421-a tax benefit program. The discussion will focus on city-wide affordable housing and a mansion tax.

Also Monday at the City Council: executive budget hearings for the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services at 10 a.m. and for the Committee on Transportation at noon.

In Albany, the Senate and Assembly will each be in session. Also:

  • At 10:30 a.m. the state Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs will meet to discuss a number of amendments to military, civil service, executive and tax law.
  • At 11 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Civil Service and Pensions will meet to discuss a number of amendments to retirement, social security and civil service law.
  • At 11:30 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development will meet to discuss an amendment to executive and public housing law, and more.
  • At noon, the Senate Standing Committee on Labor will meet to discuss a number of amendments to labor and workers' compensation law. 
  • At 12:30 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Insurance will meet to discuss a number of amendments to insurance law - incoudiung an act to amend the insurance law in relation to enrollment during pregnancy.
  • On Monday, the state Assembly's Committees on Aging, Banks, Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, Environmental Conservation, Higher Education, Real Property Taxation and Veterans Affairs will be in session.

Monday night, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, along with the Queens Economic Development Corporation, hosts "New Ideas to New Venture" to provide information, resources and advice to those looking into start a new business.

Tuesday
Tuesday morning, New York City Department of Investigations Commissioner Mark Peters will speak at a New York Law School CityLaw breakfast event. He'll discuss "Legacy & Reform: DOI's Role in City Government."

On Tuesday, "The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will...begin consideration of landmark designation for the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, site of the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 that sparked the modern LGBT rights movement, Gay City News has learned. If approved, it would represent the first such designation from the Commission bestowed exclusively for a site's significance to the LBGT community."

Tuesday's City Council shedule includes a 10 a.m. executive budget hearing for the Committee on Governmental Operations. At 11 a.m., the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss designating the Crown Heights North III Historic District boundary as a landmark. And at 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss various land use applications.

On Tuesday in Albany, there will be a major push for Gov. Cuomo's 'raise the age' legislation: "Busloads of hundreds of young people, formerly incarcerated youth, and child and family experts and advocates will converge on Albany on Tuesday to demand that elected officials pass raise the age and reform New York's juvenile justice system this year. Despite the fact that charging youth as adults is bad for public safety and youth, New York remains one of only two states to automatically prosecute 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. Following recommendations from a commission of youth and criminal justice experts, legislators allocated $135 million towards reform, with specific details to be determined later in the session. Advocates will call for elected officials to honor their commitment and raise the age before it is too late."

At 1:30 p.m., Empire State Agenda will be joined in Albany by Assembly members, state senators, and LGBTQ advocates to "demand the State Senate take up the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), civil rights legislation that would extend New York's anti-discrimination laws to safeguard trans individuals, who currently stand outside our state's legal protections against unfair practices." State Senators Daniel Squadron and Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Richard Gottfried are expected.

The Senate and the Assembly will both be in session on Tuesday in Albany. Also:

  • At 9 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture will meet to discuss a number of amendments to agriculture markets laws.
  • At 9:30 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering will meet to discuss a number of amendments to municipal, and racing, pari-mutuel wagering and breeding law.
  • At 10 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will meet to discuss a number of amendments to environmental conservation law.
  • At 10 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Local Government will meet to discuss a number of amendments to property, municipal, village, and town law.
  • At 10 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Education will meet to discuss a number of amendments to education law - including an act in relation to establishing the Asian Lunar New Year school holiday and an act in relation to authorizing the option of assigning community service as an alternative to suspension of students or in conjunction with student suspension.
  • At 10:30 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a number of amendments to vehicle and traffic, public authorities, and highway law.
  • At 11:00 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Finance will meet to discuss a number of amendments to highway, education, agriculture and markets, tax, county, executive, criminal procedure, workers compensation, banking, public health, state finance and social services law.
  • At 11:30 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary will meet to discuss a number of amendments to general obligations, uniform commercial code, domestic relations, estates, powers, and trusts, social services, and family court law.
  • At noon, the Senate Standing Committee on Health will meet to discuss a number of amendments to public health and social services law - including an act in relation to making pregnancy a triggering event for purposes of enrollment in a qualified health plan.
  • At 12:30 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Cities will meet to discuss various acts - incouding an act to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to the reporting of criminal activity on subways and an act to amend the real property tax law, in relation to giving the New York city department of taxation discretion to accept late filings.
  • At 12:30 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss a number of amendments to education law - incouding an act in relation to establishing a volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service volunteer tuition assistance grant program and an act in relation to the New York state masters-in-education teacher incentive scholarship program.
  • At 12:30 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Social Services will meet to discuss a number of amendments to social services law - including an act in relation to additional options for local social services districts to implement effective welfare-to-work programs and an act in relation to directing the office of children and family services to establish workload standards for child protective services worker.
  • At 1 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Codes will meet to discuss a number of amendments to penal and criminal procedure law.
  • At 1:30 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on New York City Education Subcommittee will meet to discuss various amendments to education law - including an act in relation to requiring certain public schools in any city with a population over one million to offer food options during lunch, an act to direct chancellors of city school districts, in cities having a population of one million or more, to examine and assess the feasibility of expanding the number and types of career and technical education schools and programs within such city school districts and an act in relation to improving educational outcomes for homeless students.
  • At 1:30 p.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Energy and Telecommunications will meet to discuss various amendments to public service and general business law - including an act in relation to requiring companies to allow victims of domestic violence to cancel contracts when there is a permanent order of protection in place.
  • The Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. to "examine the issues facing communities in the wake of increased heroin abuse."
  • On Tuesday, the Assembly Committees on Children and Families, Codes, Consumer Affairs and Protection, Correction, Governmental Employees, Health, Judiciary, Libraries and Education Technology, Local Governments, Mental Health, Small Business and Ways and Means will be in session.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and members of the NYC Council will preview the Queens Public Library's new mobile library in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park at 2:45 p.m.

At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, alongside with LGBT Caucus Council Members Dromm, Johnson, Menchaca, Mendez, Torres, and Bramer, will host "Celebration of LGBT Pride" in Council Chambers in City Hall.

Council member Andy King holds a Constituent Services Night on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at a NYCHA complex in his district. "Services will include resources and solutions for housing, food stamps, immigration, Access-A-Ride, employment, immigration status and basic services."

On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Manhattan, Ester Fuchs, professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science and director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University, will host "NYC Politics and Policy in the Age of de Blasio," reviewing de Blasio's adherence to his campaign promises to end social and economic inequality.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will make an appearance on The Daily Show Tuesday - his second time on the show comes as Jon Stewart approaches the end of his tenure as host.

Wednesday
On Wednesday morning, Stroock will host a discussion about development on Manhattan's West Side: "Please join us as Stroock hosts another Government Leadership forum featuring Dr. Michael Horodniceanu, President of the MTA Capital Construction Company, Jay Cross, President of Related Hudson Yards and Hilary Spann, Managing Director, Northeast Real Estate Acquisitions for J.P. Morgan Asset Management. They will discuss redefining, high-density projects, a trend driven in part by the demand for housing and a few of the big scale redevelopments happening in the Westside of Manhattan."

There are no City Council hearings or meetings on Wednesday.

In Albany, the Senate and Assembly are in session Wednesday. Also:

  • At 9:30 a.m., the Senate Standing Committee on Banks will meet to discuss various amendments to banking and financial services law.
  • Also at 9:30, the Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will meet to discuss various amendments to mental hygiene law.
  • The Senate Standing Committee on Social Services will host a public hearing regarding the Community Services Block Grant Program at the Legislative Office Building, 10:00 a.m.
  • On Wednesday, the Assembly Committees on Agriculture, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Cities, Economic Development, Election Law, Governmental Operations, Housing, Insurance, Labor, Racing and Wagering, Social Services, and Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development will be in session.

Thursday
There's no school in New York City on Thursday, it's "Chancellor's Conference Day for staff development related to the high learning standards and assessments. School staff report to work if required by their collective bargaining agreement," according to the official DOE school calendar. There's a workshop at Teachers College: "Chancellor's Day Conference: Expanding Mindsets, Transforming Practices...Join TCICP and the NYC DOE for the 5th Annual Chancellor's Day Conference at Teachers College. Building on the success of the previous years' Chancellor's Days, this will once again be a conference presented by New York City DOE teachers for New York City DOE teachers."

On Thursday from 7:30 to 11 a.m., join keynote speaker Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and "New York's leading real estate and construction professionals for an in-depth look at the future of development in Brooklyn. Explore Brooklyn's new and emerging major projects and learn about their impact on the economy of the entire City of New York."

Thursday morning, "Join Crain's and Howard Zemsky, CEO of Empire State Development, as he discusses what projects and goals the Cuomo administration will pursue in New York City and whether the state's new tax-free program is working yet."

Supporting Housing Network of New York will host The 15th Annual New York State Supporting Housing Conference on Thursday from 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. in Manhattan, featuring over 20 panels and a keynote by NPR's Dave Isay. Workshops will explore a variety of topics, including: "what's new in financing supportive housing," "modifying supportive housing to help tenants age in place," "weaving on-site healthcare into supportive housing services," and "the latest in housing and homelessness policy."

Throughout the day on Thursday, New York City Schools will host EDxEDNYC 2015. "The mission of EDxEDNYC 2015 is to build best practices, network with other innovative thinkers within New York City and to continue conversations around student engagement and inquiry. This conference is for educators by educators, with a focus on fostering discussion, questioning, reflective leadership and design-thinking within our schools."

On Thursday and Friday, the Personal Democracy Forum 2015 will be held at NYU. "Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) is the definitive event in the world of technology and politics. PDF brings together a thousand top opinion makers, political practitioners, technologists, and journalists from across the ideological spectrum for two days to network, exchange ideas, and explore how technology and wired citizens are changing politics, governance, and civil society." This year's theme is "Imagein All the People: The Future of Civic Tech," and consists of quite a program.

At the City Council on Thursday, 10 a.m. the executive budget hearing for the Committees on Technology and Land Use. At 11 a.m., the executive budget hearing for the Sub-Committee on Senior Centers and the Committee on Aging. Also at 11, the Committee on Land Use will consider all items reported out by its various Sub-Committees and conduct any other business that might be necessary.

At 1 p.m., the Committee on Housing and Buildings will have its executive budget hearing.

The State Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will host a forum/town hall to examine initiatives and determine best practices for job skill training and retraining programs, and provide recommendations to foster workforce development in New York State - in Newburgh, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Thursday from 5-8 p.m., Labor Press will host its annual "Labor Leadership Awards Reception." This year's honorees will include: R. Thomas Buffen Barger, International President, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers; James CahIll, President, NYS Building & Construction Trades Council; Edwin Christian, Business Manager, International Union of Operating Engineers local 14; Danny Donohue, President, CSEA Local 1000 AFSCME ; Ernest Logan, President, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators; Steve McInnIs, President, NYC District Council of Carpenters.

From 6-8 p.m., Barbara Turk from the NYC Office of Food Policy and panelists including UCLA Research Director Gary Gates and Hunter College Food Policy Center director Jan Poppendieck come together to discuss "Food Insecurity and SNAP Participation in the LGBT Community," after their study at UCLA found high rates of food insecurity in the LGBTQ community.

On Thursday at 6 p.m. in Manhattan, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC holds "a festival of legislative theatre confronting mass incarceration and collateral consequences of conviction," with an advocacy fair followed by "original plays based on community actors' lived experiences of discrimination based on past arrest or conviction." Participating NYC elected officials include "Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer; Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Council Member Jumaane Williams, Council Member Stephen Levin; Public Advocate Letitia James; Samuel Miller, US Housing and Urban Development."

The Manhattan Young Democrats' 6th annual Engendering Progress will be held Thursday in Manhattan, "honoring women thought-leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and businesswomen." This year's honorees are Zephyr Teachout, Associate Professor of Law & Author of Corruption in America; Sonia Ossorio, President, NOW NYC; Cynthia Salim, Founder & CEO, Citizen's Mark; and Alana Fickes, Cinematographer, The Empowerment Project.

Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Astoria, join City Council Member Costa Constantinides "and the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for a Town Hall on the new soon-to-be-built ferry dock. The EDC will give a presentation about the proposed ferry dock and there will be opportunities for community input with an audience Q&A."

At a Bronx Immigrant Business Town Hall on Thursday, SBS Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer, MOIA general counsel Sonia Lin, DCA's Amit Bagga, and others will hold a public meeting to share information for immigrants on how to start, operate and grow small businesses.

Friday and the weekend
On Friday in Buffalo, Governor Cuomo's new Fast Food Worker Wage Board is set to hold a public hearing. "Under New York State law, a Wage Board can suggest changes to the minimum wage in a specific industry or job classification if it finds that wages are insufficient to provide for the life and health of workers within that industry or classification... Those planning to attend a public hearing will be requested to preregister once the dates and locations are finalized."

Friday morning in Manhattan, "The Association for a Better New York cordially invites you to join us at a breakfast meeting on Friday, June 5, 2015 featuring Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. A veteran law enforcement officer and public servant, Borough President Adams will discuss his views on criminal justice and provide some recommendations for ensuring New York remains the safest big city in the country. He will also make significant announcements in his pursuits of advancing the borough."

Personal Democracy Forum 2015 continues all day on Friday.

On Friday at 6 p.m. in Manhattan, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC holds "a festival of legislative theatre confronting mass incarceration and collateral consequences of conviction," with an advocacy fair followed by "original plays based on community actors' lived experiences of discrimination based on past arrest or conviction." Participating NYC elected officials include "Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer; Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Council Member Jumaane Williams, Council Member Stephen Levin; Public Advocate Letitia James; Samuel Miller, US Housing and Urban Development."

On Saturday, Theatre for an Oppressed NYC hosts three workshops starting at 11 a.m., including "legislative theatre" on how to participate in the legislative process; "participatory budgeting," where participants can learn to get involved in spending public money in their neighborhoods; and "Take Action: from Ideas to Public Policy," learn how ideas become law in NYC, and how to can help the policy ideas become law.

On Saturday from 4 p.m., "The Empire State Pride Agenda's annual Hudson Valley Engagement returns to Rhinebeck this summer for another exciting afternoon with our Hudson Valley supporters...This festive occasion is the perfect opportunity to engage with friends and neighbors while learning more about the Pride Agenda's work to win equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers and our families."

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson holds an Immigration Forum with "panel discussions," breakout workshops," and "community resource tables" with information for both documented and undocumented immigrants.

The 23rd annual Queens Pride Parade will be held on Sunday in Jackson Heights, Queens, with Mayor de Blasio as the Grand Marshal. This year's theme is "pride, strength, and unity."

On Sunday, Riders Alliance hosts a "Rally for a Better Ride" at Fulton Park in Brooklyn to demand a newer cars and improved services on the C Train.

***
Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).

***
by Bernard Agrest, Ben Max, & Carla Sinclair
@GothamGazette



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