Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics




Today is the last scheduled day of session this year for the New York State Legislature and the big news has more to do with what won’t pass than what will. A blame game continues over who or what killed negotiations over sweeping public campaign finance reform. A last-ditch meeting on the issue scheduled for Monday was abruptly cancelled. Both houses of the Legislature seem to be playing a game of chicken on the Women’s Equality Agenda as the abortion plank remains a sticking point. The DREAM act is dead in the water as is an education tax credit, but legislators remain hopeful they can pass a bill legalizing medical marijuana despite resistance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Negotiations continue on teacher evaluations and legislation to clear up technical issues in the budget.

New from Gotham Gazette

As City Plans Payphone WiFi, Council Members Wary of Monopoly
Kristen Meriwether reports on the process by which the City will award a contract to one company to overhaul the city's 7,000-plus payphone kiosks into wireless internet hubs.

While Improving, City's Air Quality Crisis Quietly Persists
An in-depth report on New York City's air quality and the significant negative health ramifications of polluted city air.

A Free-Market Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis
In an op-ed, a housing expert offers a five-point solution to create more affordable housing without spending as much city money as the de Blasio plan calls for.

ICYMI from Gotham Gazette

The Horses of New York City: Central Park Carriages & NYPD Mounted
A comparison of the city's two groups of horses shows that they lead quite similar lives - though there is a major campaign to end the use of only one type.


Other Stories We're Following

De Blasio’s Speed Limit Bill in Hands of Republican Senate Leader (Capital)

City Emergency Management Chief Resigns (Capital)

Legislature Reaches Deal on Laws to Fight Heroin (NY Times)

Courting White Voters in Harlem District (NY Times)

Public Allowed to Sue NYPD Cops Over Stop-and-Frisk Profiling (Daily News)

13th Congressional District Race Ignites Over Fake Eviction Notices (Daily News)

Green Taxis Gaining Ground (WSJ)

Lawmakers Want to Delay Downsizing Facilities For Mentally Ill (Times Union)

Bratton Ends Raids on Homeless Shelter (DNAinfo)

Schneiderman Dodges Open Records Law (Crain's)



The jury hearing the bribery and corruption case against Sen. Malcolm Smith will decide whether to declare a mistrial. Judge Kenneth Karas, the federal judge overseeing the case, decided the jury should determinewhether it can stay the extra weeks it may take to translate 28 hours of secretly recorded conversations from Yiddish, which prosecutors only recently admitted existed. If the jury declares a mistrial, the case will be presented anew, to a new jury. Smith is accused of conspiring to bribe Republican officials to secure their ballot line for New York City mayor in the 2013 election. Former Councilman Dan Halloran and Staten Island Republican Chairman Vincent Tambone are also charged in the case.


New from Gotham Gazette
Analysts Dissect De Blasio's Accounting Principles in UFT Deal
Kristen Meriwether reports on experts discussing the accounting principles at play in the administration's deal with the UFT - and what the tactics used might mean for other labor deals.

Advocates Ready Last-Minute GENDA Blitz
David King reports on advocates and legislators trying to push a State Senate vote on the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act before the legislative session ends this week.

New York City's Classroom Space Crunch
In an op-ed, an education advocate outlines overcrowding in New York City schools and calls for a renewed commitment to creating new school seats.


Other Stories We're Following

Sharpton’s Coolness to Rangel Marks Waning of a Political Generation(NY Times)

Bratton Sees Challenges in New York He Made Safer (NY Times)

Tenants Push For Rent Freeze (Daily News)

Unions, Reform Groups Gird For California-Inspired Lawsuit (Capital)

De Blasio, Local Elected Officials Split Over LICH Deal (Capital)

Cuomo’s Democratic Challenger Embraces Underdog Role (WSJ)

Medical Pot Debate Turns to Smoking (WSJ)

Astorino Unveils Plans to Reform State Ethics (Times Union)

REBNY Head Confirms Retirement (Crain's)

Brooklyn’s Historic Churches Disappear to Make Way For Condos(DNAinfo)


Rep. Charles Rangel has dropped out of the third and final televised debate in the Democratic Primary for the 13th Congressional District, which is scheduled to tape today and air Monday on BronxTalk. “I’m only upset for the people of the Bronx,” said host Gary Axelbank. A spokesman for NY State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Rangel's leading opponent in the congressional race, issued a statement attacking Rangel for being “out of touch” with Bronx residents. Rangel's team pointed out that the last debate in which he participated actually took place in the Bronx at Lehman College. However, that debate did not focus on issues facing the Bronx. In previous debates, Rangel gave a number of quirky performances: during one debate he used a cell phone as a prop to insult his opponents, during another he was caught using Google on his iPad. Meanwhile, as the federal primary date of June 24th nears, scrutiny has increased on Espaillat’s record in Albany, where he has passed only four bills in the Senate from 2011 to 2013 but has been a leader on immigration issues. The primary is June 24.

New at Gotham Gazette

Despite Administration Launch, Legislators & Advocates Vow to Move Forward on Open FOIL
Kristen Meriwether reports on the de Blasio administration's launch of a City Hall FOIL tracker, with lawmakers and advocates pointing out its flaws and promising to continue pursuit of a bill to mandate a city-wide Open FOIL system.

New York City Must Care for Seniors
In an op-ed, Council Member Helen Rosenthal and advocate Marilyn Williams warn that the city must prepare for an aging population and do more now to support senior services.

Gotham Gazette's 2014 Elections portal is live! See what races are happening this year, who is running in them, and much more

Other Stories We're Following

Poll: Confidence in NYPD Performance Slips (Newsday)

Schneiderman Supports Bill Regulating Payroll Cards (NY Times)

Senate Approves Two Planks of Women’s Equality Agenda (YNN)

Cuomo Biggest Beneficiary of Campaign Finance Loophole he Pledged to Close (ProPublica)

Three-Way Talks Underway on Medical Marijuana (the Post Standard)

Unknown Candidate May Draw Votes From Espaillat (Daily News)

Cuomo Not Willing to Delay Implementation of Teacher Evaluations (Daily News)

Teachout Preparing For Democratic Primary Against Cuomo (NY Post)

Judge Considers Mistrial in Malcolm Smith Case (WSJ)

LICH Judge Asked to Discard His Own Mediator (Capital)

Bloomberg Funded Gun Control Rally at City Hall This Weekend (DNAinfo)

NY Dems Spin Eric Cantor’s Defeat as Good For Them (Crain's)