Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

A refreshed New York City Council is set to vote in a new speaker — the second-most-powerful elected official in the city — at its first official meeting of 2014. After weeks of forums, closed-door meetings and outside lobbying, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito appears to be headed for a victory in Wednesday’s vote.

Mark-Viverito, a progressive firebrand who represents neighborhoods of northeastern Manhattan and southeastern Bronx, secured at least 30 votes with significant help from close ally Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mark-Viverito only needs 26 votes to win; there are 51 total Council members. Her only remaining rival for the job, Manhattan Councilman Dan Garodnick, is a moderate favorite of editorial boards who has been fighting to turn votes in the days leading up to the Council meeting.

Mark-Viverito’s victory would buck the unspoken tradition of Democratic bosses securing enough votes to install a speaker in exchange for appointment perks. Instead, most of Mark-Viverito’s support came from the Progressive Caucus and the Brooklyn delegation. Her win could also usher in an overhaul of Council rules that would decentralize much of the speaker’s office powers. The Council’s fourth speaker since the post was created in the early 1990s, Mark-Viverito would also be the first Hispanic to hold the seat.

The winner of the speaker race will replace Councilwoman Christine Quinn, who lost her primary bid for mayor last year and is being term-limited out of office.

NEW IN THE GOTHAM GAZETTE — Groups Fear Cuomo Won't Highlight Campaign Finance Reform In Annual Address. The governor is scheduled to deliver his fourth State of the State address on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. State Government Editor David Howard King will be live-tweeting the event. Follow him on Twitter @davidhowardking

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Today's Report

Kids Not Getting Flu Vaccine
One in three children under 5-years-old didn't receive their influenza shot in the past year, according to this new report by the Health Department. While 65 percent of New York City children aged 6 to 59 months received the vaccination in the past year - an increase from 59 percent in the previous influenza season - that's well below the national goal of 80 percent. (read the full report)