Gotham Gazette

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Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio

  • Where De Blasio's Push to Borrow Billions Stands

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    The Financial Control Board meets (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio has until the end of September to present a state fiscal oversight body with a plan to find $1 billion in savings that will help balance the city budget for the current fiscal year. In lieu of a federal aid package to help replace lost tax revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor and labor union leaders are pushing the Legislature and Governor Cuomo to allow the city to borrow billions of dollars to cover operating expenses, a proposal that many city and state

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  • After Big Dip, City Jail Population Creeps Back Up

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    Mayor de Blasio and top NYPD officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    In mid-April, Mayor Bill de Blasio took a victory lap as the city’s daily jail population fell below 4,000 for the first time in nearly 75 years. It was a marked drop of almost 1,500 since the city went into lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, and was a result of several factors, including measures the mayor took to release hundreds of detainees whose health was at risk. But the jail population has slowly begun to increase, reaching 4,160 on September 1, as the

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  • Under New Body Camera Policy, NYPD Still Controls the Video and the Narrative

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    Mayor de Blasio reviews NYPD video (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new policy for automatically publishing body camera footage within 30 days when police officers kill or seriously injure someone. The step, he said, would give the public more assurances that they would actually see video captured in serious cases of police force, an implicit but often unrealized aim of the transparency program. But more than two months since the policy was implemented, old questions remain about who controls what footage is

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  • How Do Black Lawmakers and Activists View ‘Defunding the NYPD’? It’s Complicated

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    Protesters demanded a $1 billion cut to the NYPD budget (photo: @VOCALNewYork)


    The New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio crafted an $88.2 billion budget for the current fiscal year in what was one of the most contentious budget negotiations in years, coming amid a pandemic-caused recession and a resurgent racial justice movement that sought to “Defund the NYPD” and redirect some of its massive resources to social services in communities of color. But the budget process showed major divisions in the City Council, where several of the notable ‘yes’ votes on the

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  • New Report Highlights Sharp Income and Employment Disparities for Black New Yorkers

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    (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on New York City’s economy and has revealed, and exacerbated, the existing socioeconomic disparities that afflict communities of color in the city. As Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration looks to ensure a fair recovery that focuses on racial equity, a new report shows that there are deep disparities in income and employment for Black New Yorkers that

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  • As Gun Violence Increases, So Does Disagreement Over De Blasio's Response

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    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD Commissioner Shea (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As New York City continues to see an increase in gun violence, concentrated largely in Brooklyn and the Bronx, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his police department have gone with a familiar playbook of shifting resources to hot spots, holding gun buy-backs, and coordinating with community groups that seek to prevent shootings in vulnerable neighborhoods. But as shootings and murders have jumped by especially large numbers amid the pandemic, its resulting mass unemployment, and a

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  • Providers, Participants Scramble for Scaled Down Summer Youth Employment Program

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    Mayor de Blasio with local activists (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Every morning, Joaquin Soto wakes up to participate in Summer Bridge, New York City government’s 2020 summer youth employment program. Instead of commuting to a work site, Soto turns on his computer, attends Zoom meetings, watches videos on professional development, and takes quizzes to show what he’s learned.

    “The application was really straightforward and very accessible,” said Soto, a 17-year-old from Cypress Hills. “But I feel like there’s definitely been some kind of trouble for

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  • How the De Blasio Administration is Preparing to Lay Off Thousands of City Government Workers

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    Mayor de Blasio during a budget presentation (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    As the New York City economy continues to struggle from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and additional fiscal aid from the federal government is nowhere in sight, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has begun formulating plans for taking the last resort step of laying off thousands of municipal workers.

    The coronavirus fallout drained the city’s coffers, forcing the passage of an $88.2 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year, a massive $6 billion

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  • After a Step Back, Corey Johnson Reemerges

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    Speaker Corey Johnson (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    When the coronavirus pandemic hit New York and the mayor vacillated before closing schools and imposing social distancing guidelines and restrictions on large gatherings, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson beat him to the punch in calling for all three. The Council speaker, a Manhattan Democrat and likely 2021 mayoral candidate, made regular appearances on local TV and radio, and tweeted constantly from his

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: New York City's Leadership Void, with Harry Siegel

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    August 12, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: New York City's Leadership Void, with Harry Siegel

    Harry Siegel, a Daily News columnist, Daily Beast editor, and co-host of the FAQNYC podcast, joined the show to discuss New York City's leadership void.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • Now More Than Ever, New York City Needs Leaders to Welcome Jobs

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    Council Member Menchaca & Speaker Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    All of us who care about New York City – and if you are a regular reader of Gotham Gazette that surely includes you – are worried about its future. COVID-19 has shuttered our economy and seriously impaired the lives and livelihoods of millions of our residents. It is clear that things will never go back to the way they were and that we must turn this disaster into an opportunity to bring back a different, better, fairer city. 

    But fear of change and the demonizing of ‘development’ risk

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  • What's Next for the City's Massive 100 Million-Meal Emergency Food Program?

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    Mayor de Blasio at a school food hub (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The uncertainty around how New York City public schools will be reopened come September extends to the emergency food initiative greatly expanded by city government during the devastating coronavirus outbreak that led to mass unemployment and food insecurity, as a large portion of the program was using public schools to distribute millions of free meals.

    A part of the massive program that has distributed over 100 million free meals since March will likely shift as students and

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  • De Blasio Critical of Controversial NYPD Arrest of Protestor; Shea's Stance Unclear

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    Mayor de Blasio & Commissioner Shea (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the tactics and the timing of the police officers who dragged a protester alleged to have damaged several police cameras into an unmarked van on Tuesday. But the mayor did not say Thursday whether his police commissioner, Dermot Shea, felt the same way despite reporting having had two separate conversations on the subject.

    In an incident that was caught on camera and quickly went viral Tuesday evening, plainclothes officers leapt out of a

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  • Little Support for De Blasio's Claim that Court Shutdown is Driving Gun Violence Surge

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    De Blasio and Shea discuss public safety (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea are marooned on an island with few substantive details to sustain their claim that one of the biggest drivers of New York City's recent increase in gun violence is a pandemic-stalled court system.

    The two have repeatedly offered largely unsupported claims that the coronavirus-related suspension of grand juries and a slow-down in gun offense prosecutions has made the courts a major contributor to the surge in shootings throughout the

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  • New York City Public Hospitals Were Unprepared for Major Crisis, Costing Lives During Covid Outbreak, Review Finds

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    Mayor de Blasio visits Elmhurst Hospital (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    New York City and State governments’ lack of support for the city’s public hospitals left them underprepared in almost every way for the COVID-19 pandemic, even when the disease seemed likely to come to the city and despite warnings dating back to 2006 about the very conditions that would lead to an overwhelmed hospital system that became a real-life nightmare for New Yorkers, according to a preliminary report by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer

    And when COVID-19

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  • Requests for Emergency Rent Grants Fell During Pandemic, But Expected to Skyrocket When Evictions Resume

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    Tenants on edge amid eviction moratorium (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    A city-run emergency grant program that helps keep people in their homes has seen fewer applications during the COVID-19 pandemic, seemingly due to a moratorium on evictions. But housing advocates worry that the program will be hard pressed to respond to a “tsunami of evictions” that is likely to follow once the moratorium ends, which could happen as early as next month.

    As the pandemic raged across New York City, more than a million people lost

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  • 'Break in the Dam': New York Sees Flood of Long-Stalled Police Reforms in Response to Outcry

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    Eric Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, at a recent press conference (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    New York, and the nation, was teetering on the edge when it was suddenly and violently pushed over it on May 25, as George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota by police officer Derek Chauvin. It was an incident as shocking as it was familiar, an unarmed Black man dying at the hands of a police officer with the episode caught on video and broadcast to millions of people.

    “I can’t breathe,” Floyd cried out, as Chauvin knelt on his

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  • De Blasio Promised Another Charter Revision Commission; Electeds and Advocates are Ready with Suggestions

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    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    When Mayor Bill de Blasio said in late April that he was creating a task force to lead a “fair recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, nestled in his announcement was a brief statement that he also intends to call another Charter Revision Commission. But the mayor hasn’t yet convened that commission, which would be the third to be created while he has been mayor, the second by him alone, and hasn’t explained his rationale for it. 

    There have already been two

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  • 'I Actually Have to Negotiate a Budget': Corey Johnson and the Challenge of Running for Mayor as City Council Speaker

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    Corey Johnson, with Bill de Blasio watching (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Speakers of the New York City Council don’t fare well when running for citywide office. Melissa Mark-Viverito, who previously held the job, was unsuccessful in a crowded 2019 special election for public advocate. Christine Quinn, the speaker before her, placed third in the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary that saw Bill de Blasio advance toward the mayoralty. Gifford Miller, Quinn’s predecessor, similarly lost in the 2005 Democratic mayoral primary to Fernando Ferrer, and Peter

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Teachers Union President Michael Mulgrew on Reopening New York City Schools

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    UFT President Michael Mulgrew with Mayor de Blasio (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    July 8, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Teachers Union President Michael Mulgrew on Reopening New York City Schools

    Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), joined the show to discuss the planning for reopening New York City schools in September and the various educational, health, and other measures that will need to be in place. He reacted to how Mayor Bill de Blasio has handled schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and the

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  • A Month After Historic Curfew, Many Unanswered Questions About How City Policed Protests, Looting

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    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD Commissioner Shea (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The first day of the most recent chapter of protests against police brutality and racism in New York City was Thursday, May 28, the same night 500 National Guard troops were being deployed to Minneapolis, where rioters had set fire to a police station in the quarter where George Floyd was killed three days earlier.

    Over the next three nights, violence -- toward police and the burning of NYPD vehicles, by aggressive officers toward protesters, and in the form of rampant

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  • As Unemployment and Crime Spike, City Plan for Disconnected Young Adults Remains Years Behind Schedule

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    The mayor is behind on a plan for disconnected youth (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    A city task force meant to address the needs of out-of-school, out-of-work youth in the city, who pre-pandemic numbered at over 118,000 in New York City, has not yet released its report, over two years after it was due. Now, with over 35% of young adults in the city unemployed and gun violence increasing, advocates like Marjorie Parker of JobsFirstNYC, an advocacy group that was a ...

  • De Blasio, City Council Agree on Contentious $88.2 Billion Crisis Budget with Focus on NYPD Shifts

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    City budget announcement from 2019 (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The New York City Council approved an $88.2 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year shortly after midnight in one of the most divided votes for the legislative body in recent history. The new budget, which takes effect immediately for the July 1 start of the new fiscal year, is a sharp decline in expected city spending given cratering revenue brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and includes significant cuts to and funding shifts from the NYPD in response to recent mass protests against

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  • Police Commissioner Repeatedly Contradicts Mayor on NYPD Reform

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Police Commissioner Dermot Shea had strong words Tuesday about the City Council's recently-passed bill banning police chokeholds, which he said went much further than the state's new ban and ignored input from law enforcement.

    Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio having expressed support for the bill, Shea called it "incredibly reckless" in a videoconference with interfaith leaders, hosted by the New York Board of Rabbis. The comments are the latest example of Shea and other NYPD leaders publicly

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  • As Council Negotiations Continue, De Blasio Promises $1 Billion Cut to NYPD Operating Budget, Plus $500 Million in Capital Shifts

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    The Mayor and Speaker at an NYPD press conference (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Update

    As pressure mounted on the city to drastically reduce spending on policing in the budget that is due before Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council reached a tentative agreement on Monday to cut $1 billion from the NYPD and to reinvest funds in youth and social services. Nearly half the reduction, however, involves shfiting spending on school safety to the Department of Education rather than actual cuts. 

    The agreement would reduce the NYPD's

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