Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 8

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

State budget hearings continue in Albany this week, but excitement in the capital is centered around the presence of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who makes a rare visit to Albany, where he'll participate in several events Monday, including one with good government groups where he'll discuss ethics and corruption in state government.

Meanwhile, in New York City, on Sunday Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new safety improvements to crane operations - a plan to reduce risks, particularly from high winds, following Friday's crane collapse, which killed one person and injured several others.

It's an important week for de Blasio's housing plan. The City Council will hold two committee hearings this week on the mayor's proposals to change the zoning and land use rules of the city. The two proposals, known as Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability have received mixed reviews around the city, including a lot of pushback from local community boards and groups advocating for the lowest-income New Yorkers. [Read more about the proposals here.] Adding a few tweaks, the City Planning Commission passed the two amendments to the city's zoning rules last week, sending them to the City Council for review and possible adjustments. See hearing details below.

Also important to watch this week: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will deliver her second State of the City address, on Thursday from the Bronx. Mark-Viverito's speech is called "More Justice" and likely to both tout work the speaker and her colleagues have done to protect low income and immigrant New Yorkers, including measures to reduce penalties for low-level, non-violent offenses, and outline new plans to create what Mark-Viverito believes would be a more fair criminal justice system and society. Last week, Mayor de Blasio gave his 2016 State of the City address, also from the Bronx, where he focused on neighborhood development. See event details for Mark-Viverito's speech below.

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:

At 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall, “low-wage workers for real affordability” will “reject Mayor de Blasio’s controversial housing plan...a day before the City Council hearing on Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, low-wage workers for real affordability call for major changes to de Blasio's plan.” Ralliers will include “fast food workers, carwash workers, laundry workers, and other workers and residents from East New York, the South Bronx, and East Harlem and low-income neighborhoods.”

At 11:30 Monday morning, Mayor de Blasio "will hold a public hearing for and sign eight pieces of legislation - Intro. 632-B, in relation to protecting employees in large grocery stores from immediately losing their jobs after an ownership transition; Intro. 771-A, 957-A and 952-A, in relation to requiring the Department of Education to submit annual reports on student health services, information regarding sexual health education instruction received by public middle and high school educators, and information regarding school compliance with State regulations governing comprehensive health education and HIV/AIDS education in 6th through 12 grade; Intro. 49-A, in relation to expanding notice to Council Members and Community Boards regarding the approval and rejection of applications for new buildings and alterations to existing buildings that require a new certificate of occupancy; Intro. 798-B, in relation to requiring the Depart of Finance to provide tenants enrolled in the Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption or the Disability Rent Increase Exemption programs with the rent amount on which their benefit calculation is based on; and Intro. 1007 and 1030-A, in relation to increasing the amount expended annually on Business Improvement Districts (BID) and expanding the Metrotech BID."

At 1:30 p.m., "the Mayor will attend the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association 2016 Lunar New Year Celebration, where he will be honored for adding the Lunar New Year to the school holiday calendar, and present a proclamation. Immediately following the event, the Mayor will hold a media availability."

The New York State Legislature is in session on Monday in Albany. And at 12:30 p.m., there will be a joint legislative budget hearing on Higher Education at the New York State Legislature.

Also at 12:30 p.m. Monday in Albany, the Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary will hold a “public hearing to consider the nomination of Michael Garcia for Associate Judge of the New York State of Appeals.”

From 12:30 to 4 p.m. Monday, BetaNYC will host a discussion on open data and its effects on New York City.

On Monday at 1 p.m. in front of the Supreme Court building in Brooklyn, “the family of Akai Gurley will be joined by families impacted by police violence in New York City. Officer Peter Liang, who will be testifying Monday, killed Akai Gurley on November 20, 2014 in NYCHA Louis H. Pink Houses in East New York, Brooklyn during a vertical patrol.”

Also at 1 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James will deliver remarks at the Flushing Chinese Business Association Lunar New Year Celebration.

Monday at 2 p.m. at Queens Hospital, "First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor Richard Buery will host a town hall with Muslim leaders in Queens on mental health. They will share an overview of ThriveNYC and then answer questions from participants." [Read: As Council Begins Oversight, McCray Reports Mental Health Roadmap Progress]

At 4 p.m. Monday in Albany, good government groups and WAMC/Northeast Public Radio will host U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for “A Special Conversation with Preet Bharara.” Citizens Union, Common Cause New York, the League of Women Voters and the New York Public Interest Research Group will co-host the event at The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio in Albany. Bharara will deliver remarks and sit for an interview with WAMC President and CEO Dr. Alan Chartock - it will be broadcast live on WAMC’s 28 radio frequencies and at Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, will introduce Bharara.

Earlier in the day, Bharara is also set to address a conference of New York mayors and attend the swearing in of new New York chief judge Janet DiFiore, who will lead the state’s court of appeals. Governor Cuomo will deliver remarks at DiFiore's ceremony.

Late Monday evening, the New York City Department of Homeless Service and volunteering New Yorkers will conduct the annual HOPE Count of the city’s street homeless population. At about 11:30 p.m., “Mayor Bill de Blasio, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio, HRA Commissioner Steve Banks, and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will kick-off a HOPE count volunteer training session at PS 116 in Manhattan.” There are estimated to be 3,000-4,000 people who live on the streets in New York City, though the HOPE count and new measures by the mayor seek to clarify that number. The de Blasio administration is undertaking new efforts to move people from the streets into shelters, safe havens, hospitals, or other facilities.

The New York State Legislature is in session on Tuesday. Also, at 9:30 a.m., there will be a joint legislative budget hearing on human services.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday in Queens, "On Tuesday, February 9th, New York City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer, Community Board 2, representatives from Access Queens, 7 Train commuters, business owners and stakeholders will rally to voice their concerns about poor 7 train service. This year, riders have seen growing delays and service disruptions during rush hour commutes. During the rally, Majority Leader Van Bramer will call on the MTA to implement and expedite a complete Full-Line Review of the 7 line. Queens 7 train commuters will be at the rally sharing their stories about horrific rush hour commutes and talking about the negative impacts poor service is having on their lives."

At 9 a.m. Tuesday in Queens, “Borough President Melinda Katz will deliver the the annual Queens Chamber of Commerce breakfast before an audience that includes members of the Queens Borough Cabinet and more than 150 business and community leaders from across the borough.”

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • At 9:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchise will hold a hearing at City Hall - “The focus of this hearing will be the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal but public testimony on the Zoning for Quality and Affordability can also be given.”
  • At 1 p.m., the Committee on Veterans will take a tour of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Military Family Clinic at NYU School of Medicine.

"Senator Patty Ritchie, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and members of the Senate Republican Conference will be holding a press conference Tuesday, February 9, 2016, at noon in Room 332 of the Capitol to highlight the Senate Majority's "Planting Seeds" initiatives to support New York's family farmers and boost the agriculture economy."

At 1 p.m., the New York City Campaign Finance Board will hold “EC2017 Compliance and C-Smart" which is “training for campaigns running in the 2017 citywide elections."

At the capitol building, "The Senate Democratic Conference will unveil a set of policy initiatives spearheaded by the Senate Democratic Policy Group to help New York families during the critical early childhood period on Tuesday, February 9, at 1:30 PM."

At 7 p.m., the Riders Alliance will host a “Strategy Meeting and Training: Reduced Fares for Low-Income Riders.”

At 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the City Council, the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchise will hold a hearing at City Hall - “The focus of this hearing will be the Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal but public testimony on the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing can also be given.” [Read: Planning Commission Sends Mayor's Zoning Proposals to City Council]

On Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committees on Judiciary and on Consumer Affairs and Protection will hold a joint hearing “To examine ways to better protect New Yorkers from unfair mandatory arbitration clauses, and to explore how the arbitration adjudicatory process can be improved.”

At 6:30 p.m., The Urban Land Institute New York will host “A View from the Top: Inclusive Leadership in the Real Estate Industry” about women’s leadership roles.

"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, February 11 at 10:00 AM."

On Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the Bronx, the Assembly Standing Committee on Cities will hold a hearing on infrastructure problems of cities and potential solutions.

At noon on Thursday from the Samuel Gompers Campus in the South Bronx, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will deliver her second State of the City address, "More Justice."

On Thursday at 5:15 p.m. at the General Society Library, Common Cause NY, Greater NY Chamber, New Democratic Dimensions, and National Women's Political Caucus are hosting "Ethics in Government: Where do we go from here?" featuring state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and former City Council Member Robert Jackson.

Friday and the weekend
At 10 a.m. Friday, the City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation will meet on two bills: one, "would require the department of parks and recreation to publish a manual that sets forth binding policy regarding the reporting of the department's pesticide use. The bill would require that the manual, any changes to the manual, and any pesticide use reports prepared by the department of parks and recreation be made available online on the department's website"; and the other "would require the Parks Department (DPR) to establish a notification system by way of email or text message where park goers can register to receive advance notifications whenever an area under DPR's jurisdiction will be sprayed with pesticides."

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 Ben Max

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