Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, March 27

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Buckle up, it’s the final week before a new state budget is due by midnight Friday -- the start of the new fiscal year is April 1. As always, negotiations are expected to come down to the wire, and it’s likely that the bargains reached at the last minute will be budget and policy decided and voted through with almost no review by rank-and-file legislators or the public. Albany!

There’s a great deal at stake in the state budget for New York City, of course, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s agenda.

Speaking of de Blasio, the mayor was out in public on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday he attended and delivered remarks at the funeral of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo; then de Blasio headed to Albany to speak at the annual Somos Conference. On Sunday, de Blasio had one campaign event: he spoke at Pilgrim Wesleyan Church in Brooklyn and received the re-election endorsement of Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. Then, in his official mayoral capacity, de Blasio delivered remarks and marched in the Greek Independence Day Parade.

On Monday, the mayor continues his "mansion tax" advocacy and appears on NY1's Road to City Hall in his usual weekly spot -- see details of both below.

Once the state budget is set, de Blasio will take that into account as he prepares the next version of a proposed city budget. De Blasio’s executive budget plan is due this spring -- the city fiscal year starts July 1 -- and it will also take into account feedback from the City Council, which is nearing the end of its many hearings on de Blasio’s preliminary budget plan.

Those hearings conclude this week, including the hearing on public safety (NYPD, etc.) and the postponed hearing on health that is set to feature at least some discussion of the controversial metzitzah b'peh practice and what the city is doing about it -- see below for more.

And, this week is voting week for participatory budgeting in the City Council districts where members are running the program. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and others kicked off the vote week this weekend, according to a press release: “Now in its 6th year, Participatory Budgeting, or PB, has grown to include 31 Council Members, representing Council Districts across the City. Participatory Budgeting is a community-driven process that increases the transparency of budgeting decisions and provides New Yorkers with a greater say in how their tax dollars are spent.”

Speaking of Mark-Viverito, on Monday and Tuesday this week she is hosting the first-of-its kind sanctuary city conference -- see below for details.

And, the week in politics will culminate with Saturday night's annual Inner Circle charity show, where the city's press corps will roast the city's politicians, especially the mayor, and vice versa.

See details of what's happening all over the city and in Albany through 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:

The New York State Legislature will be in session on Monday in Albany.

The New York State Board of Regents will meet on Monday in Albany.

Monday is the United Federation of Teachers’ annual lobby day in Albany. “More than 800 teachers, paraprofessional, and parents representing New York City public schools will board early-morning buses Monday to travel to Albany to meet with their local legislators to discuss education funding, charter schools, and other issues. UFT President Michael Mulgrew, along with legislative leaders, will address a plenary session with all the teachers at 11 a.m.; the session will be followed by teachers meeting with individual legislators representing their schools.”

On Monday at 11 a.m. in Albany, “New York State Senate Health Committee Chair Kemp Hannon will hold a press the fourth floor of the state Capitol to lead a bipartisan push for a key budget measure that would help save the lives of premature infants. The Senator will be joined by fellow bill sponsor (S4526) Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages, other legislators, doctors, and infant health advocates in calling for the enacted state budget to include Medicaid coverage for donor breast milk so that this screened and safe “medicine” can be provided to infants born at very low birth weights.”

On Monday at noon at the Capitol in Albany, a “mass disruption” is planned “to demand progressive tax policies to end homelessness, income inequality, and prepare for Trump cuts,” according to one organizing group, Vocal-NY…”statewide coalition says over 88 people - representing over 88,000 homeless New Yorkers - will risk arrest halting business as usual as the final week of budget negotiations begin. Protestors will denounce Governor Cuomo's refusal to support the extended 'Millionaires tax' and 'Mansion tax' despite Assembly and Senate Democratic support, NYS' record homelessness, and worst income inequality in the nation. And Senate Republicans' proposal to cut taxes for millionaires despite growing poverty throughout the state.”

On Monday and Tuesday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Local Progress will host the first national conference on sanctuary cities at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Discussion will center around protecting immigrants from the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Participants include politicians and activists from all over the country, such as Speaker Mark-Viverito and City Council Member Brad Lander, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, and Cook County, IL Commissioner Chuy Garcia.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday at City Hall, there will be a press conference calling for the "fearless girl" statue near the Wall Street bull to be made permanent. Public Advocate Letitia James will speak.

At the City Council on Monday, there will be two preliminary budget hearings:

  • Committee on General Welfare, jointly with the Committee on Women’s Issues and the Committee on Juvenile Justice, with testimony from the Human Resources Administration and Department of Social Services at 10 a.m., the Department of Homeless Services at 11:30 a.m., and the Administration for Children’s Services at 1:30 p.m.
  • Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, with testimony from the Department of Sanitation at 1 p.m. and the Business Integrity Commission at 3 p.m.

At 10 a.m. Monday, Adrian Thomas, the subject of the film Scenes of a Crime who was falsely accused of murder and exonerated due to video evidence, will hold a press conference in Albany urging legislators to pass A4239, a bill to expand the use of videotaping for police interrogations in order to reduce wrongful convictions. He will be joined by his mother, as well as Al O’Connor of the New York State Defenders’ Association; John Turi, the Rensselaer County Public Defender; and Art Frost, of the Rensselaer County Public Defender’s office.

On Monday at 5:15 p.m., "Mayor de Blasio will host a tele-town hall regarding the Mansion Tax." In the 7 and 10 p.m. hours, the mayor will appear on NY1’s Road to City Hall.

On Monday at 7 p.m. City Council Member Brad Lander and partners will hold the next meeting in their #GetOrganizedBK series. This will be “an “Organizing Bootcamp” to help build the organizing skills we need for the long haul” and include remarks from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Austin City Council Member Greg Casar, and Philadelphia City Council Member Helen Gym.

The New York State Legislature will be in session on Tuesday in Albany.

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics will meet on Tuesday in Albany.

At 10:45 a.m. Tuesday in Albany, "State Senator Martin J. Golden (Brooklyn- R, C, I) and Assemblyman Joe Lentol (Brooklyn – D) will announce that they are again sponsoring legislation, S2410/A5477, known as the New York State Criminal Street Gang Act, which may have prevented the tragic murder of EMS worker Yadira Arroyo by gang member Jose Gonzalez, if the Assembly passed, and the Governor signed the bill that was approved by the State Senate."

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the New York City Bar Association will host “Stopping Health Care Hemorrhaging: Transforming New York City's Health Care Infrastructure,” featuring Public Advocate Letitia James, along with two panels of public health experts and attorneys.

At the City Council on Tuesday, the Transportation Committee will hold a preliminary budget hearing, with testimony from The Department of Transportation at 10 a.m.; The MTA/NYC Transit at 11:30 a.m.; and The Taxi and Limousine Commission at 12:30 p.m.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the New York League of Conservation Voters will host its “Emerging Leaders Happy Hour,” featuring guest speaker Mark Chambers, director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, City & State NY will host its annual Above and Beyond Awards, honoring women in New York’s political, media, education, nonprofit, and other sectors. This year’s honorees can be found here.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will host a hearing of their “Gifted and Talented Task Force,” focusing on “gifted and talented education in New York City public schools, as well as the admissions process for the city’s specialized schools,” at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn. (This event was originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 14, but was rescheduled due to the snow.)

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Open Society Foundations will host “Public Health in a Populist Moment,” a discussion regarding the impact of populist politics on public health. Panelists include Jonathan Cohen of Open Society Foundations; Chloe Cooney of Planned Parenthood; Gregg Gonsalves of Yale Law School and Yale School of Public Health; Naa Hammond of the Groundswell Fund; and Ronald Martin of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. Elisabeth Rosenthal of Kaiser Health News will moderate.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Reform Party will host a candidate forum for mayoral candidates seeking the party’s nomination at 2 Penn Plaza. As of March 22, confirmed attendees are Bo Dietl, Sal Albanese, Michel Faulkner, and Mike Tolkin.

The New York State Legislature will be in session on Wednesday in Albany.

At the City Council on Wednesday, there will be three preliminary budget hearings:

  • The Committee on Health, with testimony from the Medical Examiner at 10 a.m., the Department of Health & Hygiene at 11 a.m., and the Health & Hospitals Corporation at 1 p.m.*
  • The Committee on Land Use, with testimony from the Landmarks Preservation Commission at 11 a.m. and the Department of City Planning at 12 p.m.
  • The Committee on Technology, which at 1 p.m. will hear from the Department of Information, Technology, & Telecommunications

*Health Committee Chair Corey Johnson recently told Gotham Gazette that metzitzah b'peh will be discussed at the hearing. The Orthodox Jewish circumcision ritual, which includes the mohel sucking the blood from the infant’s penis, is an ongoing source of controversy, flaring up recently after new reports of herpes being transmitted to babies and a lack of cooperation from the communities despite an agreement with the de Blasio administration. The mayor said the city is reevaluating that agreement given the evidence.

Also at the City Council on Wednesday, at noon The Committee on Technology will meet to discuss a proposed law “in relation to online submission of applications for permits, licenses, and registrations and a single web portal for such applications.

On Wednesday evening, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will co-host a public safety town hall, 6:30 p.m. at P.S. 48.

The New York State Legislature will be in session on Thursday in Albany.

At the City Council on Thursday, the Committee on Public Safety will hold a preliminary budget hearing, with testimony from District Attorneys and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor at 10 a.m.; The Civilian Complaint Review Board at 12 p.m.; The Criminal Justice Coordinator at 1 p.m.; and The Police Department at 2 p.m.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams will hold his fourth annual Women's History Month Celebration at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Gay City News will host its 2017 “LGBTQ IMPACT Awards,” honoring those who have made significant impacts in NYC’s LGBTQ community. This year’s honorees include former Governor David Paterson, United States v. Windsor plaintiff Edie Windsor, and Executive Director of the NYCLU Donna Lieberman, along with many others.

Friday and the weekend
The New York State Legislature will be in session on Friday in Albany. A new state budget is due by midnight Friday -- the new fiscal year begins Saturday, April 1.

At 8 a.m. Friday, the Building Congress will host its “Construction Industry Breakfast,” featuring conversations with Marisa Lago, the Director of the Department of City Planning and Chair of the City Planning Commission, and James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

At 6 p.m. Friday, Public Advocate Letitia James will hold a public Q&A for residents of Bushwick and Cypress Hills at the North Brooklyn YMCA.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, the Inner Circle Show will host “Trumped: De Blasio to the Rescue?” The event will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

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 Brachfeld and Ben Max

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