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  • Early in Albany Session, Plastic Bag Fee Sparks Home Rule Debate

    felder bag fee city hall via scott reif

    Senator Felder & opponents of the bag fee (photo: Scott Reif)


    An attempt by lawmakers in Albany to prevent the New York City Council from imposing a fee on plastic and paper bags at retail stores has reignited a debate over home rule and the state government’s interference in the work of a democratically elected local legislative body.  

    The New York State Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that prohibits “the

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  • Council Member Airs Weekly Radio Show Through Campaign Funds

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    City Council Member David Greenfield (photo: William Alatriste)


    For elected officials, there is no shortage of means to communicate with constituents and the broader public, whether through modern lines of social media or more traditional newspaper op-eds or television appearances and ads. But even now, radio is one method of communication that has endured as a choice for elected officials in New York City and beyond. One City Council member, though, has taken a novel approach to radio by hosting a weekly show paid through campaign funds.

    Council Member David

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 16

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    The week begins with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, and many celebrations and services around the city, state, and country. Mayor Bill de Blasio will speak at three different events to mark the holiday, then appear in the evening on NY1. Later in the week, de Blasio is set to participate on Thursday in a large New York City rally aimed at sending a message to the incoming Trump administration -- see details

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 9

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week in New York politics will be dominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is giving six regional State of the State addresses. Before we turn to New York politics, though, there's also a lot to watch for in national politics this week: President Barack Obama is giving his farewell address Tuesday night and cabinet nominations by President-elect Donald Trump face confirmation hearings throughout the

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, January 3

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Happy New Year! 2017 Promises to be a fascinating year in New York politics. We’re here with our first Week Ahead of the new year, and this week will be an important one. We recently published our Top Ten Stories of 2016 in New York Politics and our 70

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  • Candidates for 2017 City Elections

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    Mayor de Blasio signs in to vote (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    With the 2016 elections behind us and 2017 here, the focus in New York City is turning to this year's city election cycle. There will be dozens of races on the ballot for primaries in September and the general election in November, including Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempt at re-election.

    The other citywide positions of Public Advocate and Comptroller will also be voted on, as well as all five Borough Presidents, all 51 City Council seats, and two District Attorney positions

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  • 70 Questions for 2017 in New York Politics

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    De Blasio & Cuomo (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Happy New Year! As we get ready for 2017, there are, as always, many questions in New York politics. In early 2016, we asked 40 questions for the year ahead. This time, we’re asking 70 for 2017.

    There's a lot to look for in the new year, including a mayoral race and other city elections; so here are our big political questions for the year ahead -- if you want to share them, answer any,

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  • Top Ten Stories of 2016 in New York Politics

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    Bill Bratton departs (both photos: Michael Appleton/Mayor’s Office)


    Gotham Gazette's Top Ten Storylines of 2016 in New York Politics:

    10. Bill Bratton Leaves ‘On Top’
    In an extraordinary send-off -- his own mini-parade -- Bill Bratton departed 1 Police Plaza on September 16, 2016 for the final time as NYPD commissioner. For about two-and-a-half years Bratton was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s police commissioner and the arrangement worked mostly well for both: Bratton had the job and power in it that he wanted, de Blasio had

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  • Amnesty Program Clears $150 Million Owed to City

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    Mayor de Blasio hands a pen to CM Ferreras-Copeland (photo: @JulissaFerreras)


    A three-month amnesty program run by the city Department of Finance cleared more than $150 million in penalties owed by New Yorkers due to fines from various city agencies. Proposed by City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and agreed to by the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the September-to-December fine forgiveness program was aimed at addressing some of $1 billion in debt owed to the city and is being heralded as a success by officials involved.

    The program, which was the first of its kind

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  • Campaign Finance Board Fines De Blasio, Others for 2013 Campaign Violations

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    Mayor de Blasio accepts a union endorsement for re-election (photo: Ben Max)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2013 campaign is being fined $47,778 by the Campaign Finance Board for ten separate violations, including improper post-election spending. Additionally, the board determined at its Thursday hearing, of the $3,994,496 in public matching funds de Blasio’s 2013 campaign received, it must repay $485.02.

    The single largest fine to de Blasio’s campaign, $21,159, is for making impermissible post-election expenditures. ...

  • With Trump Presidency Looming, City Officials Reevaluate Financial Picture

    ferreas copeland presser nyccouncil

    Council Member Ferreras-Copeland (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    The potential repercussions of President-elect Donald Trump’s policies on New York City’s budget loomed over a Wednesday City Council hearing. The Council’s Committee on Finance met for oversight on the de Blasio administration’s November Financial Plan Update, which shows a projected increase in spending of $1.3 billion this fiscal year, as well as additional savings being set aside by the city.

    On Wednesday at City Hall, Council members led by finance Chair Julissa

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  • Bill Aims to Ensure Heat is On When It Should Be

    ritchie torres arms crossed pink tie

    Ritchie Torres (photo: John McCarten)


    City Council Member Ritchie Torres will introduce a bill on Thursday that aims to ensure landlords follow the law and keep the heat on for tenants when it should be.

    Torres’ bill, being introduced in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, would require landlords of buildings with more than three units to install tamper-proof heat sensors in the living room of each unit. These “temperature reporting devices” would be monitored by tenants, landlords, and the city’s housing

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  • De Blasio Fails to Explain His Support for Limits on Groups Like Campaign for One New York

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    Bill de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The City Council will pass a bill this week to put significant limits on the donations that political nonprofits aligned with elected officials can accept from entities with city business. Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to sign the bill, sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, into law.

    While she has been a close ally of the mayor, in crafting the bill Mark-Viverito condemned one of the most controversial aspects of de Blasio’s tenure, The Campaign for One New York. And in supporting the bill, de

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  • City Council Rushes Through Campaign Finance Bills

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    City Council chambers (photo: Sofie Hecht/Gotham Gazette)


    The City Council is rushing through a package of bills to reform the city’s campaign finance system. About a dozen bills driven by Council members’ frustrations with the Campaign Finance Board and its rigorous reporting system are being moved through the Council at an almost unseen pace, raising eyebrows.

    There are actually two packages of bills that will be passed through the Council this week: one that has been sitting idle for months after a hearing, which will go through the

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  • Special Election for Harlem City Council Seat Kicks Off

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    Council candidate Marvin Holland, right, with Sylvia Tyler (photo via Holland on Twitter)


    It’s going to be a sprint of an election -- though it’s not clear how many candidates are running or how many voters will participate -- with ballots likely to be cast sometime in February.

    The election of New York City Council Member Inez Dickens to the State Assembly creates an open seat in Council District 9 in Harlem, and a number of contenders have thrown their hats in the ring. As soon as Dickens officially vacates her Council seat, Mayor

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  • Building in the Wrong Places: A Pivotal Choice

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    photo: Hudson River Park Trust


    Building sites for so-called "parks" or other misplaced uses in or over the water offshore is a ruinous policy. Unprecedented proposals now before the City Council to help finance such in-water construction by selling legally dubious "air rights" (supposedly unused development rights) from sites in the lower Hudson River--starting with Pier 40--or other public waterways to mega-developers would magnify this harmful policy's potentially catastrophic citywide impacts.

    Joanne Witty's ...

  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 12

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week begins with focus on the transition of President-elect Donald Trump, who has continued to announce nominations for cabinet positions, as well as attention on the extent to which Russian agents attempted to influence the United States presidential election in order to help Trump win. Reports indicate that President Obama has ordered a full review, that members of Congress may hold hearings, and that the CIA

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  • Much Agreement on Need for Bail Reform, But Little Movement

    de Blasio rikers ponte officers

    On Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    There is an ongoing conversation in New York about how to fix the bail system that many agree is broken, keeping too many poor people in jail after they are arrested for low-level nonviolent offenses but cannot afford to post bond and, at times, allowing individuals back onto the street who are prone to violence but able to pay bail. Efforts at reform have been full of fits and starts.

    About a month ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced measures to make

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  • New York: A Sanctuary City with A Plan

    ferreras-copeland menchaca press conference

    The authors: Council Members Menchaca, left, & Ferreras-Copeland, center


    New York’s immigrant families are waking up terrified as President-elect Trump, his supporters and growing administration spew hate. In spite of his new stance to “work something out” for Dreamers, Trump’s words are met with lack of trust. As the children of immigrants, we take attacks from Trump and his supporters personally and are filled with the courage needed to fight harder and smarter than ever to protect the rights and freedoms of

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 5

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Will there be a special session in Albany before the end of the year? That's one question we're looking for an answer to as the week begins. Time is running low for one to occur before the holidays at the end of the month. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he wants to hold one to deal with a variety of issues, including pay raises for legislators and executive branch employees and other reforms to the legislator position,

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  • City Council Bail Fund Continues Slow Path to Reality

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo via flickr)


    The City Council’s long-awaited public bail fund, a project spearheaded by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, is one step closer to being operational after receiving another required approval from state authorities.  

    Mark-Viverito announced the plan to create a $1.4 million

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  • 22 Campaign Finance Bills to Move Through City Council 'Soon,' Speaker Says

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    Speaker Mark-Viverito (photo: @NYCCouncil)


    Within the next two months, the City Council is expected to vote on a large legislative package that would alter the city’s campaign finance system in a variety of ways and regulate donations to political nonprofits, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said this week. Some of the proposals and the timing of their likely passage have raised concerns, though, that the Council is weakening the city’s model campaign finance system, pushing some reforms through after too long a wait and rushing other, newer bills through just in time for the next

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  • City Council Women's Caucus Rallies for Equity Legislation

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    Equality rally at City Hall (photo via Council Member Cumbo)


    The Women’s Caucus of the New York City Council announced a legislative package Tuesday aimed at equal rights and opportunities for women. With an “equality rally” outside City Hall before the full Council held a meeting at which some of the bills were introduced, legislators, advocates, and service providers expressed support for the legislation and argued for its necessity in light of Donald Trump’s election as President.

    The co-chairs of the Women’s Caucus, Council

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, November 28

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    This week we're continuing to watch President-elect Donald Trump fill out his cabinet while examining his conflicts of interest, which he has said don't matter, and his erratic and dangerous behavior, such as Trump tweeting on Sunday, "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted

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  • New Urgency in Our City’s Fight for Our Planet’s Future

    Costa Constantinides

    Council Member Constantinides, the author


    As we continue to digest the results of the election, a troubling reality emerges that our core beliefs are under attack. As New Yorkers, we stand in unity with our neighbors, especially Muslim, Latino, and LGBTQ communities across our city.

    We are also left with deep disappointment because President-elect Trump has attacked climate change as a hoax. He has pledged to undo American efforts to prevent a global warming catastrophe, including retreat from the Paris Agreement on Climate, Clean Power Plan, and new EPA

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