Gotham Gazette

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Voters to Fill Vacant Bronx Council Seat in Special Election


Rafael Salamanca meets voters before Tuesday's election (via @JohnJrBX)

Residents of District 17 in the Bronx will vote for a new City Council Member on Tuesday in a special election to fill the vacancy left by former Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who resigned and the end of last year. As with all special elections for the City Council not held on regularly scheduled election days, it is a nonpartisan contest, meaning no candidate will appear on the major party ballot lines. Instead, each candidate had to create his or her own “party.”

Voter turnout is expected to be low and the winner will likely be decided by level of institutional support - from labor unions and the Democratic Party apparatus - and access to campaign funds. The winner is all but certain to enter the Council as a Democrat - the Bronx is overwhelmingly Democratic in terms of party registration and the party identification of elected officials (every elected official representing the Bronx at all three levels of government is a Democrat).

There are six candidates still in the running, down from eleven initial contenders after several were knocked from ballot contention for various mistakes. Those who will be on the ballot include small business owner George Alvarez; Marlon Molina, a community activist and banker; Joann Otero, former chief of staff for del Carmen Arroyo; Julio Pabon, an activist and entrepreneur; J. Loren Russell, a financial consultant; and Rafael Salamanca, Jr., district manager at Bronx Community Board 2.

In this crowded field, Salamanca, Jr. seems to be the frontrunner, with the backing of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, support from Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and virtually all of the City Council members from the Bronx, as well as the endorsement of Maria del Carmen Arroyo’s mother, Carmen Arroyo.  

Salamanca, who was also endorsed by the District Council 37 labor union, has far surpassed his opponents in raising campaign funds. He has raised $70,107 and has received $36,732 in public matching funds. Other candidates have raised $7,000-$20,000. Russell and Pabon are the closest - Russell has raised $15,795 and received $42,846 in matching funds; Pabon has raised $15,813 and received $33,432 in matching funds.

“Usually the candidate with the most institutional support wins a special election,” said Jerry Skurnik of Prime NY, a political consultancy. He pointed out that the short timeframe within which special elections are held are an advantage to candidates like Salamanca, who have the local political machinery behind them. City Council special elections are usually held on the first Tuesday after a seat has been vacant for 45 days.

Skurnik also said that other candidates only stand a chance if they can outspend opponents or invoke wide grassroots support. “There have been some upsets in special elections, but there’s usually some kind of special circumstance which doesn’t look like it’s happening in this Bronx special election,” he said.

One major issue in specials is getting people out to vote. “Between 5 and 10 percent of registered voters is relatively good for a special election,” Skurnik said. The numbers bear this out.

Three recent elections to City Council seats give an indication of what turnout looks like. Donovan Richards won the 31st Council District in Queens in a special election held on Feb. 19, 2013. There were 76,866 active voters enrolled in the district in 2012 (the number increased to 81,165 as of April the next year). Of those active voters, 9,147 - or 11.89 percent - cast their ballots in that special election, with 2,646 voting for Richards.

The other two elections, for District 51 in Staten Island and District 23 in Queens, were technically not special elections, in that they weren’t nonpartisan, but they were held this past year to replace two Council Members who resigned midway through their terms. A primary was held in September followed by the general election on November 3, Election Day. But the voter statistics are comparable.

Held in a low-key election cycle in an off-year, turnout was low, but relatively higher than with Richards’ election. In District 23, there were 11,305 votes cast (13.9 percent of the 81,027 active voters in the district), with 6,156 going to the winner, Barry Grodenchik, a Democrat.

In District 51, Republican Joe Borelli received 9,111 votes out of the 13,002 cast (14.2 percent of the 91,224 active registered voters) even though he ran unopposed.

To reach out to the 71,795 active registered voters from District 17 to get them to vote in Tuesday’s special election, the Bronx-based nonprofit Nos Quedamos Community Development Corporation partnered with the New York City Campaign Finance Board’s voter engagement arm, NYC Votes.

Nos Quedamos organized a community forum last month, livestreamed by BronxNet, to inform residents of del Carmen Arroyo’s resignation and to introduce the candidates who wanted to replace her. Ten of the eleven initial candidates were present.

Nos Quedamos has also been holding a voter registration drive for the last two weeks, first targeting the large concentration of homeless shelters in the district, whose residents are often overlooked when it comes to registering to vote. As election day approaches, they have been focused on reaching out to the nearly 4,000 housing units in the 19 buildings in their organization’s network.

“For special elections like this, (turnout) is a concern for us because it’s not on everyone’s radar,” said Jessica Clemente, CEO and president of Nos Quedamos. She said the resignation announcement being made over the holidays meant that very few people were aware that their Council representative had resigned and Nos Quedamos had little time to tell them. “Forty-five days is a blink of an eye,” Clemente said, pointing out that grassroots door-knocking is crucial in such a short time frame to inform voters and bring them to the polls.

“You are always going to have low voter turnout when a special election is held,” said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, a good government advocacy group. “But better it’s held in an open nonpartisan way than a closed partisan way because voters at least have a choice of candidates in City Council special elections.”

Citizens Union last year called for state legislature vacancies to be filled through nonpartisan elections so that they are no longer “party-controlled coronations.”

Dadey conceded that party support does still have a role to play in nonpartisan elections. “The major political parties still exercise a great degree of control because of their ability to pull out voters and support candidates,” he said. “But we’ve seen time and time again where the favorite candidate does not always win. So there’s an opportunity for community leaders unaffiliated with a political party to win an election.”

[Related: Special Election Spotlights Machine Politics in the Bronx]

by Samar Khurshid, senior reporter, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

Note: Gotham Gazette is an independent publication of Citizens Union Foundation, sister organization of Citizens Union.

Note: this article has been updated to clarify that it is Carmen Arroyo, not Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who has endorsed Salamanca; and to add campaign finance information for candidate J. Loren Russell.

The Week Ahead in New York Politics, February 22

New York City Hall

New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will see a new member of the New York City Council elected; further debate over the de Blasio administration's housing plans; a return to Albany for state legislators in the midst of budget season; a number of interesting conferences and panel events; and much more. Gov. Andrew Cuomo will continue his push for paid family leave in New York, he participates in another rally on the policy on Monday in Rockland County.

City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito will continue efforts to get her 2016 agenda out to the public with at least one public speech, on Thursday. Part of Mark-Viverito's agenda, announced during her State of the City address earlier this month, is exploring a path toward reducing the population at Riker's Island jails and closing the jail complex. That conversation will also continue this week when a panel including correction union head Norman Seabrook and new Bronx District Attorney discusses Rikers reform - details below.

The City Council and State Legislature are back in action this week after last week's annual break that coincides with school vacation. There are session days in Albany, a City Council Stated Meeting in the city, and a variety of legislative hearings in both places. As always, there are many other events to be aware of, 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 9 a.m. Monday, schools chancellor Carmen Farina will visit The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning.

At 10 a.m. Monday in West Haverstraw, Gov. Cuomo will participate in another in a series of paid family leave rallies.

At 11 a.m. Monday in the Bronx, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will speak at a HELP USA veterans housing groundbreaking ceremony.

On Monday at 12:30 p.m. in Brooklyn, “Mayor de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement on applying for Pre-K for All,” at “Bishop Ford School Site – Pre-K Center.”

At the City Council on Monday

  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet to discuss repealing licensure of operators of motion picture projecting machines.
  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Housing and Buildings will meet to discuss the implementation of laws that would residential buildings, housing portals, and building permits for residential buildings with violations.
  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will meet to discuss laws that would improve accessibility for people living in New York City with disabilities.
  • At 1 p.m., The Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss laws that would ban the use of wastewater and natural gas waste, amend the code affecting the installation of photovoltaic systems on city buildings. They will also address issues raised by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and affected communities.

Public Advocates Letitia James will participate in the aforementioned hearing of the Council Committee on Housing and Buildings, where a bill she is sponsoring is being heard. Later Monday, James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and others will co-sponsor and delivers remarks at Rep. Jose Serrano and Sen. Jose Serrano's Black History Month celebration at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. Then, James and Stringer both deliver Remarks at the Dominican Heritage Concert being co-sponsored by State Senator Adriano Espaillat and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

At 1:00 p.m. Monday, “NYS Senator Jesse Hamilton and NYS Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo will launch state legislation that provides a critical link between New York youth and better mental health at a press conference” at 250 Broadway in Manhattan. They will be joined by City Council Member Andrew Cohen, advocates, and other stakeholders. The bill “creates a continuing education requirement for teachers relating to mental health issues.”

At 6 p.m Monday, Reverend Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, Norman Seabrook, head of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, and Darcel Clark, Bronx District Attorney, will participate in a town hall to discuss reforming Rikers Island.

At 6 p.m. Monday, Walter T. Mosley, Assembly Member of the 57th Assembly District, will give his  State of the District address at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, voters in City Council District 17 in the Bronx will elect a new Council member to fill a vacant seat in a special election. [Read: Voters to Fill Vacant Bronx Council Seat in Special Election]

On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo will deliver remarks at the Drive for $15 Send-Off, 9 a.m. at 1199 SEIU Headquarters in Manhattan. At 10:45 a.m., the governor will deliver remarks at a Drive for $15 stop at Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx; and at 12:30 p.m., Gov. Cuomo will speak at a Drive for $15 stop at the Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury.

At 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and New York University's Rudin Center will join to host a breakfast forum where they will discuss “The Rebirth of Downtown Brooklyn.” Moderator Mitchell Moss will lead a discussion among Joseph Chan, EVP, Empire State Development Corporation; Regina Myer, President, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation; Hugh O'Neill, President, Appleseed Inc.; and Tucker Reed, President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, City & State will host its fifth annual “On Technology: New York City’s Smart Initiatives” forum at the New York Institute of Technology. Maya Wiley, Counsel to Mayor de Blasio, will give keynote remarks. Then, several panels and interviews will include Jeff Merritt, Director of Innovation, Mayor's Office of Tech and Innovation, City of New York; Jessica Singleton, NYC Chief Digital Officer; Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; and Kevin Parker, New York State Senator; among others.

At 9 a.m. Tuesday in Ridgewood, Queens: ""Council Member Antonio Reynoso will join residents of 1708 Summerfield Street in Ridgewood to call on Silvershore Management to make immediate repairs to the building so that tenants can remain in their homes."

On Tuesday at 9:45 a.m., Public Advocate Letitia James will delivers remarks at the Queens Tribune Black History Month Awards Breakfast & Panel Discussion, Greater Allen AME in Jamaica. At 11 a.m., James will speak at a press conference "announcing "Pride Night" at Citi Field with LGBT Network, NY Mets, and Major League Baseball," at Queens Borough Hall.

At the City Council on Tuesday:

  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Recovery and Resiliency and the Committee on Health will discuss the recovery of city hospitals from Superstorm Sandy.
  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Contracts will meet to discuss software purchasing and amend the code affecting free and open source software.
  • At 1 p.m., The Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services will meet for an oversight hearing on emergency response times.

Ahead of the 1 p.m. hearing on emergency response times, there will be a noon rally at City Hall led by City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the fire and criminal justice services committee; Vincent Variale, President of the Uniformed EMS Officers Union; FDNY Members of the Uniformed EMS Officers Union; and FDNY, to "call on the administration to provide EMS personnel with greater resources and better technology, and implement civil service standards and promotional opportunities."

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the "Affordable for Who?" march will take place at City Hall Park to protest Mayor de Blasio's Housing Plan. It is organized by the Real Affordability for All campaign.

“The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a Public Meeting on Tuesday to take actions on its 95 backlog properties. These properties were calendared by the Commission over the past 50 years for consideration for designation, but were never acted upon.“

At 1 p.m. Tuesday, "Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bratton will host a press conference to make an announcement on CompStat 2.0...After, the Mayor will meet with the Honorable Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minister of International Trade...In the evening, the Mayor will participate in a tele-town hall with New York City AARP members on the topic of senior housing."

On Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Tweed, "Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop will announce the launch of the WE Connect Mentorship program, a first-of-its-kind initiative to support the need for mentorship among underserved women entrepreneurs throughout New York City. The 17 WE Connect Mentors represent successful New York City women business owners who will provide tailored advice through in-person meetings, online chats and blog posts."

On Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., "Speaker Mark-Viverito and the African Burial Ground Task Force will host a meet up to learn more about the newly discovered African burial ground in East Harlem."

On Tuesday, the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction will hold two public hearings to “examine the issues facing communities in the wake of increased heroin abuse” - at noon in Oneonta and at 6:30 p.m. in Penn Yan.

At 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, the New York League of Conservative Voters will host a Young Professionals Happy Hour. The event “will feature guest speaker Margaret Chin of the City Council to discuss her work to place a fee on single-use plastic bags in New York City.”

Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.

On Wednesday, the City Planning Commission will vote on the de Blasio administration's East New York Community Plan. East New York is the first neighborhood that the administration is seeking to rezone as part of its larger housing plan.

At 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Association for a Better New York will host a panel discussing potential reforms to prevent crises in the nonprofit human services sector. “Panelists will discuss the recently released report: New York Nonprofits in the Aftermath of FEGS: A Call to Action. The report calls for urgent reforms to prevent a looming crisis in the nonprofit human services sector, which is responsible for delivering essential government services to 2.5 million New Yorkers each year. The report will be presented by Allison Sesso, Executive Director of the Human Services Council. The discussion will be moderated by Gordon J. Campbell, Chair of the Non-Profit Closure Commission and Professor of Practice at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. Panelists will include: Steven Banks, Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration; Paul Francis, New York State Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services; Christine Quinn, President and CEO of Win; David Rivel, CEO of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services; and Pat Swann, Senior Program Officer at the New York Community Trust.

At the City Council on Wednesday:

  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Finance will meet to discuss the Fulton Street Business Improvement District.
  • At 1:30 p.m., the Council will hold a full-body Stated Meeting. As usual, it is expected to be prefaced by a press conference led by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, The Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, Commission on Solid Waste Management, Commission on Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes, and Assembly Subcommittee on Oversight of the Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a Public Hearing to discuss Electronic Waste.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs will hold a public meeting to examine various proposals and current programs aimed at assisting our veteran population in achieving employment opportunities.

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will join with mental health professionals to host the Brooklyn Mental Health Summit. The event aims to raise awareness about the importance of mental wellness within communities.

At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Panel for Education Policy will hold a public meeting to vote on “proposals for significant changes in school utilization” and approve contacts.

Both houses of the New York State Legislature are in session on Wednesday in Albany.

At 8 :30 a.m. Thursday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will speak about “the council’s relationship with the de Blasio administration, how new council rules have changed the legislative process, and her agenda for 2016” at a Crain’s Business Breakfast Forum at the New York Athletic Club. Event moderators will be Crain’s editor Erik Engquist and NY1 anchor Errol Louis.

At the City Council on Thursday:

  • At 9:30 a.m., The Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet.
  • At 10 a.m., the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations will meet to discuss the results of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Diversity Survey.
  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Health will meet to discuss laws that would regulate the use and selling of non-tobacco smoking products.
  • At 11 a.m., The Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting, and Maritime Uses will meet.
  • At 1 p.m., the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet.

At noon Thursday, City & State NY will hold its NYC Power 100 Luncheon The event will recognize City & State’s 100 most powerful people in New York City.

Friday and the weekend
At the City Council on Friday:

  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging and The Committee on Immigration will meet to discuss serving immigrant seniors through NORCs.
  • At 10 a.m., The Committee on Civil Service and Labor and The Committee on Finance will meet to discuss health care savings under the city's collective bargaining agreements.
  • At 1 p.m., The Committee on Higher Education will meet to discuss the status of initiatives and academic opportunities for Black men at CUNY Colleges.

At 2 p.m. Friday, the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction will hold a meeting in Brooklyn “to examine the issues facing communities in the wake of increased heroin abuse.”

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 Leanna Carroll and Ben Max

The Week That Was in New York Politics, Feb. 15-19

week in review bus readers

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

Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday February 19

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio celebrates the launch of the LinkNYC wifi hubs, via The Mayor's Office; Governor Cuomo rallies to promote paid family leave, via The Governor's Office.

de blasio LINKNYC

cuomo paid family leave motion


1. Closing Rikers: City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called for a commission to study the potential of closing Rikers Island jails during her State of the City address last week, sparking discussions on what to do about the city’s notorious complex. Mayor de Blasio said closing Rikers is a “noble concept,” but unrealistic, while his wife, First Lady Chirlane McCray, called closing Rikers a “great idea.” Mark-Viverito has continued the discussion this week, explaining that the criminal justice reforms aim to reduce the number of New Yorkers who end up in Rikers, diminishing the population in the jail. [Read: Mark-Viverito 'Doubles Down' on Criminal Justice Reform in State of the City]

2. Mayor Signs Raises, Reforms: Mayor de Blasio signed a package of legislation into law today that raises the salaries of the city’s elected officials by at least 12 percent and reforms the job descriptions of City Council members, even though the raises for Council members were $10,185 higher than what he initially approved. While the Council has been praised for several good government reforms included in the bills, the lack of public input, rushed timeline, and size of the pay increase has sparked criticism. [Read: De Blasio to Sign Higher Raises for Council Than He Previously Approved]

3. Stop-and-Frisk: A report released Tuesday by a court-appointed federal monitor found that NYPD officers are still unclear about changes to stop-and-frisk rules, leading many to continue to stopping New Yorkers on the streets without providing a just cause. Stop-and-frisks have decreased from 685,000 in 2011 to 24,000 in 2015, yet according to the report, officers failed to explain the grounds on which they stopped someone to question them in more than a fourth of all stops.

4. Vacant Lots: An audit released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer criticized the city for not using vacant lots to create more affordable housing after finding that more than 1,000 city-owned lots have been sitting vacant for over 30 years. The audit faults the Department of Housing Preservation and Development for routinely failing to properly turn over land to developers. City officials have called Stringer’s report “false and misleading,” saying many of the properties lack basic infrastructure and that many others are in line for development.

5. Shelter Squalor: An audit released by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli slammed the Cuomo administration for a severe lack of oversight of homeless shelters, saying the state’s failure led to squalid living conditions, including rodent infestations, fire hazards, and mold. Auditors noted that 22 of the 47 most serious issues had previously been pointed out in annual inspections, but had never been corrected. Governor Cuomo has since conceded “the state was not aggressive enough for a period of time.”


  • 10,000 people are currently locked up at Rikers Island, NY1’s Errol Louis writes for the Daily News.
  • 24,000 stop-and-frisk stops in 2015 - a 661,000 decrease in the number of stop-and-frisks since 2011, the Times reports.
  • 75 schools across New York City will overhaul math teaching, Chalkbeat reports.
  • 1,000 city-owned lots or more have been sitting vacant for over 30 years, according to an audit from city Comptroller Scott Stringer.
  • $47 million from the state will be spent on the development of the Empire Outlets on Staten Island as part of a “multi-pronged subsidy that increased after the developers contributed $85,000 to the governor’s campaign,” Politico reports.
  • 16 shelters with rodent and vermin infestations statewide, 18 with fire safety issues, and 8 with mold growing in residents’ rooms, an audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli criticizing the Cuomo administration for failing to provide adequate oversight of homeless shelters revealed.
  • 200 recommendations for improving East Harlem and informing Mayor de Blasio’s rezoning plan from a coalition of East Harlem stakeholders, Gotham Gazette reports.
  • 490,000 New Yorkers on the welfare roles over the course of 2015, with the average family of three receiving $826 per month under the system, and an individual receiving about $485, Gotham Gazette reports.


  • It was a good week for First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, who made several media appearances this week to discuss the city’s mental health roadmap, which McCray spearheads, and was extensively and favorably profiled in The New York Times Magazine and in Jezebel.
  • And, it was a good week for the city’s 64 elected officials, all of whom received at least a 12 percent increase to their salaries today.
  • It was a bad week for Governor Cuomo after state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released an audit that criticized the Cuomo administration for failing to provide enough oversight of homeless shelters.


  • Around this time 65 years ago, on February 16, 1951, the City Council passed a bill barring racial discrimination in housing projects, according to NY1.
  • Around this time 63 years ago, on February 17, 1953, a New York federal court delayed the executions of Cold War spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to allow time for a final appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Their appeal failed, and the two were executed in New York months later, according to NY1.



In Departure from Predecessors, De Blasio Administration Overhauls City Welfare System, by Samar Khurshid

De Blasio to Sign Higher Raises for Council Than He Previously Approved, by Meg O’Connor

To Influence Rezoning, East Harlem Stakeholders Preempt City Plan With Own, by Maggie Calmes

Eyeing 100 Schools, Will Success Academy Expand to Staten Island? by Samar Khurshid

'New York Values' in Historical Perspective, by Bruce W. Dearstyne (opinion)

'Making A Murderer' Flaws All Around Us, by Christopher Beall (opinion)

Rebuilding NYCHA: A Fresh Look, by Nicholas D. Bloom (opinion)

Goodbye to ‘First Generation’ NYCHA, by Nicholas D. Bloom and Matthew G. Lasner (opinion)

Looks Matter, Especially in Public Housing, by Nicholas D. Bloom and Matthias Altwicker (opinion)


Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max and DNAinfo reporter Danielle Tcholakian discussed Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan on BRIC TV.

Council members Donovan Richards and David Greenfield spoke with NY1’s Grace Rauh about Mayor de Blasio’s city-wide rezoning plan.

Daily News reporter Greg Smith joined NY Slant’s Alexis Grenell and Nick Powell to discuss all sides of the affordable housing debate, and whether the de Blasio administration has assuaged concerns about gentrification.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito appeared on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show to discuss the criminal justice reforms proposed in her State of the City address and potentially closing Rikers Island.

Mayor de Blasio spoke with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer about the proposed federal cuts to counter-terrorism funding for New York City, the pay hikes for elected officials, the debate between Apple and the FBI, and more.

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!

by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max

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