Gotham Gazette

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The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 1

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Tuesday will mark five weeks until Election Day. The race for Governor has been heating up, with Governor Andrew Cuomo, a second-term Democrat, and Republican Marc Molinaro at the forefront of the discussion. Molinaro has been releasing tax reform proposals while Cuomo has largely continued to focus on President Donald Trump. Cuomo explained recently that he has done so and plans to continue to do so because the federal government is a major threat to New York and Molinaro agrees with Trump on many issues. Molinaro has disputed Cuomo's characterizations of him as a "Trump mini-me," citing that he says he did not vote for Trump in 2016 and that Cuomo's allegations that he is against abortion rights, marriage equality, and immigrants are false.

There are also three other gubernatorial candidates who have general election ballot spots and are actively campaigning: Green Party nominee Howie Hawkins, Libertarian Party nominee Larry Sharpe, and Stephanie Miner, who is running as an independent on the new Serve America party line. As this week begins, we're expecting news of what the Working Families Party will be doing with its statewide ballot lines for governor and lieutenant governor (the positions are a ticket in the general) and attorney general (the WFP long ago settled on Tom DiNapoli for Comptroller. It is possible that the WFP will work out a deal with Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul for the pair to appear on that ballot line despite the deeply antagonistic relationship the two sides have had as the WFP backed Cynthia Nixon and Jumaane Williams. The WFP had put a placeholder on its attorney general line and is expected to work something out with Democratic nominee Letitia James so that she will appear on its ballot line. Hawkins did announce this past week that he was making a last-minute effort to convince the WFP to put him and his running-mate Jia Lee on its line for governor and lieutenant governor.

We're also watching this week for any word of at least one debate in the race for Governor, and any news of debates in the other statewide races. With the Democratic nominees favored in all the races, the onus is on them to agree to debates so that voters can hear from all the candidates running.

This week will feature campaigning in the statewide races as well as those for state and federal legislative seats, such as pivotal races for the State Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. There's also a campaign finance filing deadline this week, which will provide insight into how well candidates are able to convince large and small donors to support them and give them the resources to get their messages out to voters.

Beyond electoral campaigns, there is government happening this week, both at the city and state levels, and other events related to politics and policy - 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:

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights recently announced that it will lead “a large scale Mass Bail Out Action at New York’s Rikers Island,” which will be “a collaborative effort made up of grassroots groups and formerly incarcerated people to free women and young people in New York City who are jailed because they cannot afford to post bail.” The effort is set to begin Monday and continue throughout the month. “The Mass Bail Out Action will focus on two jails at Rikers Island: the Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC), which cages women awaiting trial; and the Robert N. Davoren Complex (RNDC), where minors are held in custody. On average, 500 women and 100 minors on any given day endure neglect, abuse and isolation – never knowing when freedom will come – all because they cannot afford the price set on their freedom. The large-scale bailout will result in a dramatic drop in Rikers’ population at two distinct jails and serve as an opportunity to close the jails of Rikers Island and reimagine justice – starting with investing in communities harmed by these generational practices.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will be a guest on The Capitol Pressroom radio program with host Susan Arbetter at 11 a.m. Monday.

At noon Monday, the state Senate Standing Committees on Crime Victims, Crime, and Correction and on Elections will meet jointly in Albany for a public hearing “to examine both the statutory procedures parole board members are required to consider when making a decision and compliance with same as well as the procedures used in issuing conditional pardons pursuant to Executive Order 181.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was in Texas and South Carolina over the weekend, will appear in his weekly slot on NY1's Inside City Hall with anchor Errol Louis on Monday evening, in the 7 and 11 p.m. hours.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Association for a Better New York will host James Patchett, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, for a “Power Breakfast” at the New York Academy of Sciences in the Financial District. Patchett “will make a major announcement to help establish New York City as a global leader in cybersecurity. He will also discuss how Amazon’s HQ2 search fits into the City’s future, and ongoing efforts to bolster the life sciences sector.”

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, City & State will host its “New York Health & Wellness Summit” at the National Geographic Encounter in Times Square. The event, featuring “leading experts” and “top decision-makers” in the field, will “explore how public officials, corporations, advocacy groups, academia and the media can work to create effective policies to address overall health, physical activity and wellness and the impact on its communities.” Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Oxiris Barbot will deliver keynote remarks. Other speakers include State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, City Council Member Barry Grodenchik, Deputy Commissioner of ACS Lorelei Vargas, and others.

Beginning Tuesday morning, the Mayor’s Office of Pensions and Investments, New York Law School, and the Initiative for Responsible Investment will host a two-day conference for public pension fund trustees from around the country at New York Law School. The conference, in its second annual installation, will focus on “how trustees can be forward thinking in incorporating new technology, implementing policy, and communicating with beneficiaries.”

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Senate Standing Committees on Crime Victims, Crime, and Correction and on Elections will meet jointly at the William P. Bennett Hicksville Community Center in Hicksville, Nassau County for a public hearing “to examine both the statutory procedures parole board members are required to consider when making a decision and compliance with same as well as the procedures used in issuing conditional pardons pursuant to Executive Order 181.”

On Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Union Square, “the landmark "Fix the Subway" coalition will mark its official a vast assemblage of progressive organizations comes together to win congestion pricing, a new revenue stream capable of raising tens of billions of dollars to modernize New York's ailing public transit system...The group supports congestion pricing to support the implementation of the MTA's Fast Forward plan, which would modernize the subway's 1930s-era signal technology and replace subway cars from the 1960s and 1970s.” Participants include “Riders Alliance, African Communities Together, American Institute of Architects (NYC Chapter), ALIGN NY, Brooklyn Movement Center, CAAAV, Chinese-American Planning Council, Citizen Action, Community Voices Heard, Environmental Advocates of New York, Municipal Art Society, New York City Employment and Training Coalition, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, New York Communities for Change, New York Immigration Coalition, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Picture the Homeless, Rise and Resist, Sanitation Coalition, Straphangers Campaign, Street Vendor Project, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, Transportation Alternatives, and the Women's Center for Education & Career Advancement, and other organizations.”

On Tuesday at noon, Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max will be the guest speaker at the October luncheon of the League of Women Voters, New York City chapter, discussing the 2018 elections in New York. The event will take place at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in Manhattan.

At the City Council on Wednesday:
--The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet at 9:30 a.m.
--The Committee on Public Housing will meet at 10 a.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “NYCHA development and privatization.”
--The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet at noon.
--The Committees on Criminal Justice and Governmental Operations will meet jointly at 1 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “voting rights for justice-involved people,” as well as to discuss proposed laws relating to the Departments of Probation and Correction informing parolees of their voting rights, and to “agencies assisting eligible parolees with voter registration.”
--The Committee on Hospitals will meet at 2 p.m. for an oversight hearing regarding “changes in the delivery of health care services -- moving towards a community-based outpatient model.”
--The Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concessions will meet at 2 p.m.

"The New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation will reveal on Wednesday, October 3, the winners of the Reimagine the Canals Competition, a project announced last year by Governor Cuomo to reward the best ideas to have the Canal System become an engine of economic development and a magnet for tourism and recreation. The seven finalists come from an original field of 145 submissions from across the globe. Each received up to $50,000 to develop their entries and are now in a position to be awarded up to $1.5 million to implement their ideas."

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, the New York State Board of Elections will hold a commissioners meeting at the State Board offices in Albany.

At 5 p.m. Wednesday, this week’s Max & Murphy program will air on WBAI radio (99.5FM or, featuring interviews with New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Jonathan Trichter.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, there will be a public scoping meeting at the Bronx County Courthouse to discuss the mayor’s plan to place a new jail in the Bronx, as part of the replacement plan for the Rikers Island jails.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, BRIC TV will host a town hall meeting on NYCHA at BRIC’s headquarters in Fort Greene. The town hall will focus on tenant perspectives on the issues plaguing NYCHA, such as “over-policing, crumbling infrastructure, environmental hazards, and violence,” as well as threats from Washington of funding cuts when NYCHA is in need of funds. City Comptroller Scott Stringer will deliver keynote remarks. There will also be a panel consisting of City Council Members Alicka-Ampry Samuel and Ritchie Torres, New York Daily News reporter Greg Smith, NYCHA tenant leader Lisa Kenner, and NYIT professor Nicholas Dagen-Bloom.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Museum of the City of New York will host “New York’s Housing Crisis: Which Way Forward?” Economist Edward Glaeser and sociologist Miriam Greenberg will join WNYC’s Matt Katz for a discussion on “the political, social, and economic forces shaping the future of housing in New York City and globally,” specifically focusing on the battle between “ideals of development and community preservation, between maintaining affordability and attracting a larger tax base, and between the free market and government intervention.”

At the City Council on Thursday:
--The Committee on Finance will meet at 10 a.m. to discuss a proposed law “amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to amending the requirement that a statement of income and expense certified by a certified public accountant be provided in order for an income-producing property to be granted a reduction in real property assessment by the tax commission.”

At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen will deliver opening remarks at the Crain’s 2018 Arts & Culture Breakfast at the Con Edison Conference Center in Union Square.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Council Member Costa Constantinides will hold a town hall meeting at PS 171 in Astoria.

Friday and the weekend
At 8:15 a.m. Friday, the Center for New York City Law will host a “CityLaw Breakfast” with City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. The event will take place at 185 West Broadway.

Mayor de Blasio may make his weekly appearance on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m.

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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