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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Dec 14-18


week in review bus readers

photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday December 18

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bratton, via WNYC's Brigid Bergin; Members of de Blasio's new "HomeStat" team, via @BilldeBlasio

BdB Bratton via Brigid Bergin

BdB Home Stat team ABNY

TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:

1. Home-Stat: On Thursday, Mayor de Blasio unveiled a major new plan to track and combat street homelessness. The new program, called Home-Stat, will involve tracking the street homeless population in real time, canvassing Manhattan streets daily, expansion of a police unit dedicated to homelessness, and individualized case management for each person living on the streets.

2. 421-A Negotiations Reach Impasse: Discussions between labor leaders and real estate developers to extend the controversial 421-a tax abatement program meant to encourage affordable housing are at an impasse, with sources characterizing the discussions as “dead.” In June, State lawmakers decided to leave the future of the expiring program contingent upon an agreement between labor and business, yet there has been no movement in the negotiations for some time. [Read: Negotiations to Extend Important Affordable Housing Tax Break Said to Reach Impasse]

3. City Homelessness Chief Steps Down: Gilbert Taylor, New York City's top official in charge of homeless services, resigned on Tuesday following which Mayor de Blasio announced a comprehensive review of all homeless services agencies and programs. He is the second official overseeing homelessness programming to leave this year, after Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, who oversaw homelessness and health care, resigned this summer. HRA Commissioner Steven Banks is currently running HRA and DHS while working with First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris.

4. Cuomo FOIL Saga: Following the conviction of former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam last Friday, Governor Cuomo called for the state legislature to push ahead on ethics reform. But just hours later, he vetoed two bills which would have sped up Freedom of Information Law responses from the Executive branch and required the state to pay court costs incurred by FOIL users whose requests a judge finds have been improperly denied. After pressure from good government groups, the governor did quickly issue an executive order on Saturday, then held a FOIL meeting with those groups on Wednesday.[Read: Vetoing FOIL Bills, Cuomo Points Finger at Legislature, Issues Executive Order & Cuomo's FOIL Order Has More Limited Scope Than Vetoed Bills]

5. Ethics After Skelos, Silver: The convictions of two legislative leaders on federal corruption charges within a span of 13 days have spurred renewed calls for public ethics reforms. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said on Monday the convictions should result in widespread reforms, and that his office still has “lots of investigations open.” A new Siena poll finds a strong majority of New Yorkers want ethics laws passed to clean up corruption in the state government. [Read: Assemblymember Blake Decides Against New Consulting Job & Skelos Conviction Greeted With Calls for Immediate Action on Reform]

THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:

  • 3 troubled public schools in Brooklyn will be closed by the city at the end of the school year, the New York Times reports.
  • 92% of city teachers earned high marks in the newest round of evaluations, Chalkbeat reports.
  • $2.4 billion increase in State school aid requested by the state Board of Regents, the Times Union reports.
  • $20,200 in campaign contributions to Mayor de Blasio from Glenwood Management, a real-estate firm involved in the corruption scandals involving two disgraced Albany legislative leaders, will be returned, the New York Post reports.

THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:

It was a good week for New York’s state judges, as a panel tasked with examining compensation levels approved a set of recommended pay raises that will boost their salaries for the first time in years.

It was a bad week for NYCHA leaders, as a series of revelations regarding the housing authority’s struggles were revealed, including a report showing that NYCHA had failed to screen those convicted of violent crimes, that there is at least one sex offender in one out of every four developments, a report from Comptroller Scott Stringer alleging that another natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy could leave nearly half a million people living in NYCHA developments at “extreme risk,” and a federal judge agreeing to appoint a special monitor to ensure that NYCHA finally deals with the toxic mold problem in its aging apartments.

THE FLASH:

  • Around this time 75 years ago, on December 14, 1940, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia marked the opening of the Sixth Avenue subway during a ceremony at the 34th street station. The new line included F, B, and D trains and ran from West 4th Street to 50th Street.
  • Around this time 144 years ago, on December 15, 1871, political boss William Tweed was indicted on more than 100 counts of fraud and misdemeanor charges for pocketing millions in taxpayer money.
  • Around this time 13 years ago, on December 16, 2002, a major transit strike was avoided after the Transport Workers Union and the MTA spent days negotiating to reach a deal to keep the city’s transit system running.
  • Around this time 115 years ago, on December 17, 1900, the immigration processing center on Ellis Island opened. In the decades that followed, millions of new Americans were processed at the center before beginning their new lives in America.

GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Negotiations to Extend Important Affordable Housing Tax Break Said to Reach Impasse, by David King

Assemblymember Blake Decides Against New Consulting Job, by Ben Max

Assembly Reform Group Will Miss Own Deadline, by David King

Reforms to City Campaign Finance System Advance Ahead of 2017 Election Cycle, by Samar Khurshid

Vetoing FOIL Bills, Cuomo Points Finger at Legislature, Issues Executive Order, by David King

Cuomo's FOIL Order Has More Limited Scope Than Vetoed Bills, by David King

Hope Knight to Join City Planning Commission at 'Exciting Time' by Ben Max

A Plan for More Senior Affordable Housing, by Bobbie Sackman (opinion)

New York Leads on Climate Action, by Heather Leibowitz (opinion)

MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:

On Friday, Mayor de Blasio appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC to talk about the city's new initiative for combating homelessness, Home-Stat: Homeless Outreach & Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams; and his first two years in office in sum.

On Monday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara appeared on the Brian Lehrer Show to discuss his office’s work prosecuting former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Skelos’ son and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

In State of Politics, Zack Fink details former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' history of supporting, then reneging support for campaign finance reform, and discusses the potential for reforms in the upcoming legislative session. 

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NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle @GothamGazette.

If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here. And have a great weekend!

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by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

Reforms to City Campaign Finance System Advance Ahead of 2017 Election Cycle


cm king alatriste

City Council Member Andy King (photo: William Alatriste)


As the federal trials of Albany lawmakers further reveal the corrupting influence of money in politics and spending on the 2016 presidential race ramps up, New York City officials continue to refine local laws meant to limit the ways in which cash affects voting.

Already renowned for its campaign finance system that offers public matching funds for participation in a program with relatively low donation caps, the city is moving on reforms ahead of the next widespread municipal elections, set for 2017.

A package of eight bills introduced to the City Council in November seeks to strengthen the city's campaign finance laws and insulate elections from the consequences of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. While good government advocates approve of the package, they hoped for faster and more far-reaching change.

"We're trying to protect and improve New York's landmark campaign finance program," said Council Member Ben Kallos, chair of the governmental operations committee and prime sponsor on three of the eight bills in the package.

The bills "will protect New York City's landmark small-dollar matching campaign finance system from an onslaught of dark money and special interests in City elections," according to a statement from Council Member Andy King's office - King is the sponsor of one of the new bills.

The proposals would implement a number of recommendations made by the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) in its 2013 post-election report. Of the CFB's 14 recommendations, two have already been made into law, strengthening disclosure of independent expenditures and banning certain anonymous campaign communications.

The current legislative package addresses eight additional CFB recommendations. Among the more significant of the proposals is a bill that would move the first payments of public funds to an earlier date, in June instead of August, to give candidates better footing ahead of the crucial primary campaign period.

Two bills fortify rules for entities that do business with the city, attempting to limit how much influence entities with business before the city can wield in elections. The first would preclude matching public funds for contributions bundled by individuals such as lobbyists who have business dealings with the city.

The second would improve disclosure by ensuring that companies that have an ownership interest in firms that work with the city are added to the "doing business database." Currently, the rule applies only to individual owners of businesses, and limits the contributions they can make. This bill would expand these limits to parent companies.

The other proposals in the package also address various technical aspects of elections such as voter guides, debate eligibility, and contributions from non-registered political committees.

"This package of bills increases protections against the impact of 'pay-to-play' contributions," said Eric Friedman, assistant executive director for public affairs, New York City Campaign Finance Board. Friedman said the matching funds program has been a success for more than 25 years and is regarded as a national model because "it has been adapted to meet the challenges of the evolving political system." He said these bills would make the system simpler for candidates and also more transparent for the public.

Strengths of the city's campaign finance laws are also, in part, weaknesses. The system can involve onerous paperwork, said Prudence Katze, research and policy manager at Common Cause New York, a good government organization. "It would be great to see a streamlined way of distributing money to make it less onerous for candidate committees as well as provide more transparency for the CFB and the public," she said.

Katze approves of the direction the Council is taking and thinks that these proposals will help clarify rules around campaign contributions. But she is skeptical of how quickly the Council can act on them.

"Just because bills are introduced doesn't mean laws are going to be passed," she said. "It remains to be seen."

She also hopes to see some technological rather than legislative fixes that would encourage campaigns to comply with the laws. For instance, charge cards that allow campaigns to disburse and easily track expenditure of public funds.

CFB's Friedman said they were already looking at measures, including something similar to Katze's proposal, to make it easier for candidates to navigate the system and for the public to dig into spending data. He even mentioned a system to help candidates process credit card contributions that would be rolled out soon.

Rachael Fauss, director of Public Policy at Citizens Union, another government watchdog, said the administrative reforms proposed in this package are important for a more efficient system and that it responds to changing political dynamics. However, she believes that the issue of independent expenditure has not been fully addressed. "We got disclosure laws before 2013 and we know how much was spent in the last elections," she said, "and to not acknowledge that misses an opportunity."

Citizens Union advocates for increases in candidate campaign spending caps and public matching caps as a measure to balance the scales against independent outside expenditures. Fauss said this is a complicated political issue. "Council members might not want to do this because it looks like it benefits themselves," she said, although hoping that there would be discussions on the issue led by the Council.

"These proposals make good common sense and they're important but they're missing one big piece. We know what the problem is and we need to look at solutions," she said.

Friedman agreed that independent spending was a significant issue in the 2013 elections and would have to be watched closely in 2017. "Going forward, we want candidates to continue to feel that the public matching funds program provides them the ability to run a campaign," he said, agreeing that an increase in spending and matching caps was one way to accomplish this in light of growing spending by entities other than candidate campaigns. On the other hand, he said it could also lead to the argument that more money was being brought into the election. "It's a conversation we need to have because outside spending isn't going away," he said.

Council Member Kallos also supports increasing public matching funds, but in order to minimize the role of large individual contributions. "Currently, even after candidates receive full matching funds, they are only 64 percent of the way to the spending cap, and we often see the remaining 36 percent of funds coming from large contributions," he said.

"The spending cap gives upstart candidates a chance against campaigns that can raise a lot of money from large contributions," Kallos added. "As the CFB's report showed, independent expenditures have not been winning campaigns, and strengthened disclosure from legislation passed by Council Member Brad Lander through the Government Operations Committee should serve to further limit their effectiveness."

The New York Public Interest Research Group came out in favor of all the proposals put forward. Senior attorney Gene Russianoff said one bill, which would ban public matching funds for bundlers who work with the city, is a particularly important one. "They made a mistake not amending the law in 2009," he said, referring to the last time the city passed significant changes to campaign finance law. "Now I think they're making up for it."

But Russianoff is disappointed with the Council's time frame. If signed into law, the bills will go into effect for the 2017 election cycle, but the longer it takes to enact new rules, the more time bundlers, contributors, and spenders have to play by the current ones.

"One of the problems is that time is running out and reforms that wouldn't have been so controversial in the past become complicated," Russianoff said. According to him, reform efforts are usually "on the defensive" either in a post-election climate or in the run up to the next election. "Our biggest argument to the [City Council] Speaker and her staff was, 'it's now or never.'" By 2017, he believes that "influence peddlers" will have ample time to get their work done, finding loopholes to have their contributions grandfathered in, among other means.

Russianoff also mentioned that the texts for all the bills state January 1, 2016 as the date they will go into effect - a timeframe virtually unmeetable at this point. The governmental operations committee held its last hearing of the year on Monday, Dec. 14, and the legislative package was not on the agenda. The bills will be heard at a committee hearing "early next year," according to Council Member Kallos, after which they may be tweaked before a committee vote, then a full Council vote, and on to the Mayor's desk for signature.

Council Member Lander believes that "New York City campaign finance rules are a total pain in the ass and totally necessary for democracy." Lander is a passionate supporter of stronger campaign finance regulation and was a prime sponsor on one of the two bills based on CFB recommendations that became law. He has also signed on to all the proposals in the new package.

Lander wishes independent expenditures could be banned, which could only happen if the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is made void through a constitutional amendment. (Currently, 16 state legislatures across the country have called for a constitutional amendment through resolutions and signed letters. With the signature of only one more state senator, New York will be the 17th state to do so.)

"Till then, we're stuck with putting lipstick on a pig," Lander said. He said the package of legislation would help, in particular the bill related to bundled contributions, which would level the playing field for candidates opposed by heavy independent spending.

In terms of making the system less complicated for candidates, the CFB employs staff and holds information sessions to walk campaigns through the process. "We can't require less compliance but we can make it as positive to comply as we can," Lander said, acknowledging the complicated nature of the system. He is confident that the current proposals will move through the council "fast enough."

Council Member Kallos shares this optimism. "I imagine my colleagues in the Council have an interest to hear the voice of the people," he said, "over the voices of special interests."

***
by Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette
@samarkhurshid  @GothamGazette

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, December 14


New York City Hall

New York City Hall


What to watch for this week in New York politics:

Is there anything to talk about besides corruption in Albany? Yes, but issues with ethics among state lawmakers certainly have everybody buzzing.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office has just brought about the convictions of two recent legislative leaders; calls for reform are at a fever pitch and views of state lawmakers are about as low as they can get. Bharara is expected on WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show Monday morning to discuss the convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.

One big question Bharara, Lehrer, and others are asking: Will comprehensive ethics and campaign finance reform finally happen in Albany? Good government groups are calling for a special session now, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not indicated that is a possibility as far as he is concerned. Cuomo has issued statements condemning the actions of Silver and Skelos, saying justice has been served, and indicating that he will propose new ethics legislation in January. In the meantime, Albany will continue to be a punchline and calls for reform will grow.

Cuomo is trying to keep the focus on state economic development grants that he announced this past week, and he is celebrating the largest of those grants as the week begins - he was in Syracuse on Sunday afternoon and is in Rochester on Monday - details below.

Cuomo performed some interesting executive gymnastics on Friday and Saturday, vetoing two bills that would have enhanced FOIL application in the Executive Branch, then issuing an Executive Order to "expedite the freedom of information law appeals process." In the EO, Cuomo again said that he plans to address FOIL in January to make the Legislature subject to the transparency law; and noted that "in light of recent events, we must do more to immediately advance transparency in government." [Read: Cuomo's FOIL Weekend: Vetoes Bills, Issues Order, Promises More]

Meanwhile, the Cuomo-de Blasio feud appears to have relaxed a bit of late, after the two dined in an effort to patch things up. As we approach Cuomo's January 13 State of the State speech, though, questions will grow as to how much the governor includes in his budget and policy proposals that is seen as working in collaboration with or in an effort to undermine Mayor de Blasio.

Speaking of de Blasio, the mayor had minor hernia surgery Friday and spent the weekend recovering.

The mayor will appear at 9:30 Monday morning at The National Immigrant Integration Conference 2015, which began Sunday and runs through Tuesday. According to his public schedule, he will make an announcement there. The conference is themed "New American Dreams: Advancing Opportunity, Equality & Justice" and co-hosted by the National Partnership for New Americans and the New York Immigration Coalition, and is taking place in Brooklyn. Gov. Cuomo will also address the conference, he's due to speak at 11 a.m.

Also Monday morning, at 10:30, the mayor is set to appear at an AARP event in Manhattan - he recently announced that the organization's New York chapter has endorsed his zoning amendment proposals, which have been the source of much controversy.

The next steps in the process of seeing significant changes made to the city's zoning rules happen this week - a major City Planning Commission public hearing on Wednesday. The commission will hold a regularly-scheduled meeting Monday before what promises to be a long and contentious hearing Wednesday. [Read more about the next steps in the process leading toward a tweaked plan and City Council vote]

On Thursday, de Blasio will speak before the Association for a Better New York, see below for more.

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:

Monday
At the City Council on Monday:

  • At 9:30 a.m., the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet.
  • At 10 a.m., the Committees on Environmental Protection and Recovery and Resiliency will hold a joint oversight hearing about Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC plan and the city’s plans for sustainability and resiliency.
  • At 11 a.m., the Committee on Veterans will meet about two resolutions. The first calls on the president to sign and Congress to pass the Restore Honor to Service Members Act and the second calls on the state legislature to pass and the governor to sign the New York Restoration of Honor Act.
  • At 11 a.m., the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committees on Contracts, Small Business, and Women’s Issues will hold an oversight hearing about the “Implementation of the City’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program.” Nine bills about this subject will be considered at the meeting.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committee on Governmental Operations will hold an oversight hearing about the “Structure and Content” of the Mayor’s Management Report and consider two bills related to the report. The first would require the city’s Board of Elections to “report data relating to performance goals set by the Mayor and Council twice per year” and the second requires the report to include a citizen satisfaction survey about each agency featured in the report.
  • At 1 p.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet.

Prior to the 1 p.m. Contracts/Small Business/Women’s Issues hearing, the chairs of those committees and others will hold a noon press conference on the steps of City Hall. Participants likely to include: Contracts Chair Helen Rosenthal; Women's Issues Chair Laurie Cumbo; Small Business Chair Robert Cornegy; Women's Caucus Co-Chair Elizabeth Crowley; Public Advocate Letitia James; Bertha Lewis, The Black Institute; Armand Corporation, an M/WBE; Association of Minority Enterprises of New York; Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; Harlem Business Alliance; National Association of Minority Contractors - New York State Chapter; Professional Women in Construction; Regional Alliance for Small Contractors; Women Builders Council.

Earlier on Monday morning, elected leaders and others will participate in an event to “present data from AARP’s Livability Index, a new tool rating city neighborhoods on a range of issues critical to New Yorkers as they age” at the Cornell Club in Manhattan. AARP announced this past week that it has endorsed de Blasio’s zoning proposals, key to his affordable housing plan. De Blasio is set to speak at 10:30 a.m., an hour after his announcement at the NIIC conference in Brooklyn mentioned above.

On Monday at 9 a.m., Hunter College’s New York City Food Policy Center will host Dr. Marion Nestle of New York University for a discussion of her her latest book at an event called “Food Policy for Breakfast: Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning): A Conversation with Marion Nestle.”

At 9:30 a.m. Monday in the Bronx, “Public Advocate James will give remarks at a press conference announcing a lawsuit against Moshe Piller, the fourth worst landlord on her Worst Landlord Watchlist. The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of tenants by the Tenants' Rights Coalition.”

At 11 a.m. Public Advocate James will give remarks “at Third Anniversary of Sandy Hook Call to Action on Guns Press Conference with Congresswoman Maloney.”

At noon, Public Advocate James will speak at a City Hall press conference calling for MWBE reform; she will then attend the City Council oversight hearing on the subject.

Along with U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara, Congressional Rep. Hakeem Jeffries is expected to appear Monday morning on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, which begins at 10 a.m.

At 1 p.m. Monday, the City Planning Commission will hold a meeting, its last before the public hearing it will hold Wednesday on the de Blasio administration’s zoning amendment proposals, which have garnered quite a bit of pushback.

At 2 p.m. Monday, Gov. Cuomo will be in Rochester, according to the Democrat & Chronicle, celebrating his recent announcement that the surrounding Finger Lakes Region will receive one of three $500 million upstate revitalization grants.

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assembly Member Luis R. Sepúlveda, and City Council Member Annabel Palma will hold a town hall to discuss “issues affecting the residents of Parkchester.”

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday at JHS 52, a public workshop on Inwood’s neighborhood rezoning will be held by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Community Board 12, and the Department of City Planning. The workshop will feature “a brief presentation on key zoning concepts for the Inwood community with interactive discussions focused on gathering feedback and building consensus on key principles for new development.”

Tuesday
At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • At 10 a.m., the Committee on Public Housing will hold an oversight hearing about the compliance of the New York City Housing Authority with the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s permanent exclusion policy and admissions regulations.
  • At 10 a.m., the Committees on Immigration and Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations will hold a joint oversight hearing about “IDNYC and the Cultural Institutions Group.”
  • At 11 a.m., the Committee on Land Use will meet.
  • At 1 p.m., the Committees on Women’s Issues and Fire and Criminal Justice Services will hold a joint oversight hearing to examine “the Unique Issues Facing Women in City Jails” and discuss a bill that would require the Department of Correction to make a quarterly report about its nursery.

At the New York State Legislature on Tuesday: At 10:30 a.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Higher Education will hold a hearing about “The Changing Demographics of Students in Higher Education and Educational Opportunity Programs.”

At 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer will discuss “advancing transparency and accountability in the New York City pension funds” at a Citizens Budget Commission breakfast meeting at the Harvard Club.

At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the New York City Voter Assistance Advisory Committee’s annual public hearing will be held at the Department of Youth and Community Development’s main office. The NYCVAAC is part of NYC Votes and the New York Campaign Finance Board: “NYC Votes wants to hear testimony from the public on their voting experiences and concerns from the 2015 elections.”

On Tuesday evening, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is holding “a tenant displacement legal clinic” from 6-8 p.m. “at the offices of Community Board 5, located at 127 Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York. Lawyers from the Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Legal Services will be present to provide free legal advice to tenants facing displacement threats in Brownsville, Cypress Hills, and East New York.”

On Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., the Brooklyn Historical Society will be hosting a talk called “NYC and Food Poverty: Margarette Purvis In Conversation” in conjunction with educational center’s “Hidden in Plain Sight: Portraits of Hungers in NYC” exhibition. Purvis is the CEO and president of Food Bank For New York City. Ned Resnikoff of Al Jazeera America will moderate the event.

Wednesday
At the City Council on Wednesday: At 1:30 p.m., the City Council will have its last Stated Meeting of the year. As always, it will be prefaced by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m. And prior to that, the Council’s Finance Committee will meet at 10 a.m. and its Committee on Rules and Privileges will meet at 10:30 a.m. to consider a new appointment to the City Planning Commission.

At the New York State Legislature on Wednesday:

  • At 11 a.m. in Albany, the Assembly Standing Committee on Children and Families will hold a hearing on “Child Care Assistance for Low-Income Families”.
  • At 11:30 a.m. in Smithtown, the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation will hold a hearing about the impact of illegal dumping and sand mining on the quality of Long Island’s water.

On Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m. at Manhattan’s National Museum of the American Indian, the City Planning Commision will hold a public hearing about the de Blasio administration’s controversial rezoning proposals. [Read more about those proposals and the next steps in the process, including Wednesday’s planning commission hearing]

At 6 p.m. Wednesday in Manhattan, The Working Families Party is “helping to kick off NY Renews, an unprecedented statewide coalition emerging to fight for climate policies grounded in equity and justice for communities and working people. We'll be celebrating with a launch event in Harlem [with] very special guests -- including, just confirmed, Mark Ruffalo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman!”

Thursday
On Thursday at 8:30 a.m., the Association for a Better New York will host a breakfast with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who will speak about "critical issues" facing the city.

At 10 a.m. Thursday the New York City Campaign Finance Board will meet.

The New York Working Families Party will hold its annual holiday party Thursday evening in Manhattan, expect many elected officials to attend.

Friday and the weekend
Quiet right now - stay tuned for updates!

***
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 Ryan Brady and Ben Max
@GothamGazette



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