Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 17

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week sees a return to action for the City Council after its usual spring break, with several committee hearings, including a few of particular interest, such as the economic development committee on “preparing for the impact of federal travel bans on New York City’s economy” and a general welfare committee oversight hearing examining changes in the city's approach to homelessness one year after a restructuring was announced by the de Blasio administration. See details of these and other hearings below.

Saturday is Earth Day, being celebrated again by some as a "car free" day in the city, which will include closure of a big stretch of Broadway to cars for the day. Saturday will also see the March for Science in New York City, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the country.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had no public events this weekend after his week on Staten Island. The mayor has two public events on his schedule Monday -- see below for details -- and no public events scheduled for Tuesday.

[Read: De Blasio Holds Town Hall as Week on Staten Island Nears Conclusion]

Governor Andrew Cuomo spent last week celebrating his top accomplishments passed through the new state budget, including raising the age of adult criminal responsibility, a public college affordability plan, and investments in Buffalo and elsewhere upstate. Cuomo then said Saturday that he does not see any more big ticket items, like government ethics reform, getting passed in the legislative session that will begin the week after this one and extend until mid-June. Cuomo has no public events scheduled Monday or Tuesday.

As always, there are several policy events to be aware of this week - see 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 8 a.m. Monday at The New School, the Center for an Urban Future will host “Heading Off NYC’s Human Services Crisis,” which will “explore ways to strengthen the city’s human services nonprofit sector.” Speakers will include City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland; Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Larry Lee, Executive Director of Womankind; Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council of New York; and Frederick Shack, CEO of Urban Pathways.

Monday at 8 a.m., “Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will lead dozens of Brooklynites on his third annual Bike-to-Work ride, including the sister of Lauren Davis, a cyclist killed in a crash one year ago in Clinton Hill, as he kicks off his Earth Week celebrations in and around the borough...Borough President Adams will bike from Grand Army Plaza to Brooklyn Borough Hall…”

At approximately 10:25 a.m. Monday, Mayor de Blasio will arrive at Pier 1 in Brooklyn on the inaugural ride of the NYC Ferry and host a formal dedication ceremony for the new ferry service. At 7 and 10 p.m., the mayor will appear on NY1’s Road to City Hall.

At 12 p.m. Monday, Public Advocate Letitia James will appear at an Urban Youth Justice news conference at the steps of City Hall. 

At 6 p.m. Monday, Urban Democracy Lab will host “Welcome to the Occupation: Squatting and Resistance from Berlin to New York” at NYU Deutsches Haus. 

Rep. Dan Donovan is holding a telephone town hall with constituents Monday evening at 7 p.m.

At noon Tuesday, the Manhattan Institute will host “The Open-Government Movement: How Posting All Public Spending Online Can Transform U.S. Politics,” discussing the movement to make public all government spending records with featured speaker Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of

At 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez "will join Earth Day Initiative at their Earth Week Kickoff, to invite New Yorkers from across the city to take part in this historic event. Council Member Rodriguez will unveil additional details about organizations taking part in the event and will be available to answer questions and discuss programming on Car Free Day."

At 1 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, "Assemblymember Charles Barron, Council Member Inez Barron, along with the Alliance for Quality Education, the University Student Senate of CUNY, other elected officials and education advocates will gather on the steps of City Hall to condemn the education priorities of Governor Cuomo. The anti-public education Governor's *Free* Tuition Plan includes a $200 a year tuition hike for four years for SUNY/CUNY students. Groups are also criticizing the Excelsior Scholarship for leaving behind students most in need."

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, City Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr. will host a “Workforce Development Town Hall,” in partnership with JobsFirstNYC.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, at P.S. 234 in Astoria. "Senator Michael Gianaris, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and Councilmember Costa Constantinides will host a town hall to discuss the important issues affecting immigrant communities. The elected officials will field questions from the community and address current issues and concerns. The town hall will be held in partnership with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s Civil Rights and Labor Bureaus, whose attorney’s will provide information regarding the unique role of the State in protecting immigrant rights."

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society will host “Superfund Brooklyn.” City Limits editor and publisher Jarrett Murphy will moderate “a panel of experts about the history of these sites [referring to environmental remediation project sites at Gowanus Canal, Newtown Creek, and Wolff-Alport], cleanup efforts, and what this means for the borough.”

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the New York City Bar Association, in partnership with the Historical Society of the New York Courts, will host “Constitutional Conventions in New York: Past, Present, and Future.” Panels of political figures, lawyers, and judges will discuss “the history of our NYS Constitution from 1777 to the present, focusing on the successes and failures of the process of amending the Constitution by the calling of Constitutional Conventions” in the hopes of better understanding “the value of the opportunity to convene a 2017 Constitutional Convention.”

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a town hall at the Tropical Paradise Ballroom in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Brennan Center’s Faiza Patel “will join Review and Debates at New York University's Kimmel Center for University Life for a panel discussion about the state of whistleblowing in the information age.”

At the City Council on Wednesday

  • The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
  • The Committee on Civil Service and Labor will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “the labor movement in New York City after President Trump,” as well as two resolutions “affirming the right to collectively bargain” for the city’s workers and urging Congress not to adopt Right-to-Work legislation.
  • The Committee on Waterfronts will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “dredging projects in the City’s waterways.”
  • The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss several proposed laws
  • The Committee on Courts and Legal Services will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing “examining the process of mayoral judicial appointments.”
  • The Committee on Education will meet at 1 p.m. to discuss proposed laws relating to “creating a sexual health education task force” and requiring the education department to “distribute information regarding the gifted and talented programs and exam,” as well as a resolution for the State Education Department “to convene a task force to assess the cultural relevance of state learning standards.”
  • The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 1 p.m.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, City & State will host “Growing Opportunity and Diversity: The New York City Building Trades,” discussing the growing diversity and transformation of the building trade industry. Keynote will be delivered by Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute. Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, will be conference chair.

On Wednesday morning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, ANHD, and Goldstein Hall will host a conference on "Community-Friendly Real Estate Development for Faith-Based Institutions" at Deutsche Bank, 60 Wall street.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Brewer will co-host "Learn Your Story, Tell Your Story" event for Immigrant Heritage Week with the Department of Records and Information Services, at 31 Chambers Street.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Public Advocate Tish James will host a public Q&A for residents of the South Bronx at the Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Congressional Rep. Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn will hold a town hall focusing on immigration, healthcare, and gun violence.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Education Policy will hold its monthly Educational Policy Meeting at Long Island City High School in Queens.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, State Senator Gustavo Rivera and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs will host a Know Your Rights Forum at Bronx Community College.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the New York City Bar Association will host “Police Reform: What's Working,” with a focus on “recent policing reforms in New York City, what reforms are working well and what aren't, and what further reforms should take place and why.” The Daily News’s Rocco Parascandola will moderate a panel featuring City Council Member Antonio Reynoso; Deputy Police Commissioner Lawrence Byrne; New York State Executive Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg; Civilian Complaint Review Board Chair Maya Wiley; Jenn Rolnick Borchetta, Deputy Director of Impact Litigation at Bronx Defenders; and Monifa Bandele, of Communities United for Police Reform.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Republican mayoral candidate Michel Faulkner will hold a town hall  meeting in Harlem; topics of discussion will include sanctuary cities, education, public housing/NYCHA, and affordable housing.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, residents of New York’s 11th Congressional District will hold a town hall at Bay Ridge Manor in Brooklyn. The event, sponsored by the "Fight Back Bay Ridge" coalition, will feature several advocacy organizations frustrated by the fact that Rep. Dan Donovan has not agreed to hold an in-person town hall with constituents.

At the City Council on Thursday

  • The Committee on Higher Education will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding CUNY Start
  • The Committee on General Welfare will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “Reforms to Homeless Services, one year later,” as well as to discuss several proposed laws.
  • The Committee on Land Use will meet at 11 a.m.
  • The Committee on Economic Development will meet at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “preparing for the impact of federal travel bans on New York City’s economy.”

At noon Thursday, the #NoCuts Coalition will host a rally at Federal Plaza to protest against the federal government’s proposed budget cuts to affordable housing.

At noon Thursday, the Brennan Center’s Faiza Patel “will join the American Constitution Society and the Muslim Law Student Association at Columbia Law School for a panel discussion about the legal implications posed by religious immigration policies.”

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Manhattan BP Brewer will host the opening reception for a new exhibit at the Manhattan Borough President's Office Peyton Art Gallery by Gallery35 artists' collective, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, the Vera Institute will hold its “Reimagine Justice” gala. Honorees include Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy; Steven M. Cohen of MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated; Vanita Gupta, the former head of the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; and Pat Nolan, the director of the Center for Criminal Justice Reform at the American Conservative Union Foundation. Tanya Acker of CBS will serve as Master of Ceremonies. 

Friday and the weekend
On Friday, "Regional Plan Association hosts the annual Assembly, a full-day conference examining how the tri-state area can fulfill the promise of economic opportunity, meet the challenge of climate change and stay competitive with metropolitan areas around the world. Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the keynote address." Featured speakers include Biden; Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation; Purnima Kapur, Executive Director, New York City Department of City Planning; Tom Prendergast, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer, STV; Ydanis Rodriguez, Council Member 10th District, New York City Council; Antonio Reynoso, Council Member 34th District, New York City Council; and many others.

At 10 a.m. Friday, the Chambers of Commerce for all five boroughs will host the MWBE Recognition Awards at Vaughn College in East Elmhurst, celebrating diversity across the city. Invited speakers include Queens BP Melinda Katz, Public Advocate Tish James, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Council Member Robert Cornegy Jr, and Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop.

On Friday and Saturday, the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz will host “Women in Politics: Past, Present, and Future.” Keynote addresses will be delivered by Dr. Allida Black, the editor of the Roosevelt Papers, on Friday, and by black feminist author and activist Barbara Smith on Saturday. In addition, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will speak at the event on Friday." 

Saturday is Earth Day. Starting at 10:30 a.m., the nationwide March for Science will occur, with marchers standing in opposition to the Republican climate agenda in Washington. In New York, the march will take place on the Upper West Side.

At noon Saturday, Sierra Club New York City and United for Action will host a rally at Foley Square expressing opposition to President Trump’s climate agenda. Speakers will include City Council Member Costa Constantinides, State Senators Liz Kreuger and Brad Hoylman, and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, among others. The rally will coincide with Earth Day and the March for Science in Washington D.C., New York City, and elsewhere.

On Saturday, Broadway will be closed to vehicular traffic from 47th St to 14th St as part of “Car Free Day NYC” in honor of Earth Day, an effort spearheaded by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and the city's Department of Transportation, among others.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez will host an immigration forum at the Shiloh Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Brooklyn.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Senator Daniel Squadron will host a "Community Convention" at Stuyvesant High School for his Senate district.

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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